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The Myth of Willpower

Sunday, June 1, 2014
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Research by some of the world’s leading neuroscientists is helping us better understand how addiction affects the brains of both adolescents and adults, and that the key to beating addiction goes far beyond just saying “no”. Yet, even with such progress, decisions by policy makers and health care professionals may be hurting the fight against addiction more than they’re helping. Join us for a conversation about science and public policy, informed by the latest discoveries. This Kavli Neuroscience program will explore the gap between what we know and what we think we know about addiction.

The World Science Festival’s annual salon series offers in-depth conversations with leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s premiere public programs to graduate students, postdocs, faculty and well-informed members of the general public.

This program is part of “The Big, the Small, and the Complex,” a series exploring the latest developments in Astrophysics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience—fields recognized by The Kavli Prize. Sponsored by The Kavli Foundation, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General.


Nora D. VolkowPsychiatrist

Nora D. Volkow is the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at NIH. She pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the effects of drugs in the human brain and has demonstrated that drug addiction is a brain disease.

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Eric NestlerNeuroscientist, Professor of Psychiatry

Eric Nestler is a neuroscientist, professor of psychiatry, and chair of the neuroscience department at Mount Sinai, and the director of the Friedman Brain Institute.

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Kim D. JandaChemist

Kim Janda is a professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute whose research efforts merge biology and chemistry. He has investigated using the immune system to target drug addiction, catalytic antibodies, and creating molecules to treat cancer.

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Ann B. BeederPsychiatrist, M.D.

Ann Bordwine Beeder, MD is the Chief of the Division of Public Health Programs in the Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and The New York Presbyterian Hospital.

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Rick KarrPublic Broadcast Journalist

Rick Karr’s been reporting for NPR’s news magazines for more than 20 years and for various PBS shows for more than a decade. Much of his work examines the intersection of technology, culture, and law.

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