Pablo Picasso once said “To me painting is a sum of destructions. I paint a motif, then I destroy it.” Unknowingly, he had an intuition about visual processing. In fact, our current understanding is that retinas, quite like Picasso, break an image into its parts. The first man to lay the foundation of this idea was Haldan Keffer Hartline, a contemporary of Picasso. Professor GG Bernhard used this quote to present Hartline in the Nobel prize award ceremony 1967.Read More
Welcome to the blog of the Harvard neuroscience community! Our mission is to share with you our excitement about the brain’s inner workings. Whether you are someone vaguely interested in how the brain works or a seasoned veteran of the lab, we hope to make this blog a place where you can learn something about the brain.
Unfortunately, these days science news is filled with sensationalist tales far removed from data (e.g. did you know that your brain changes as a result of…. just about any experience?), while research articles read as if they were written by robots or zombies (some have in fact been written by machines and promptly accepted by journal editors). Not only are so many papers mind-numbingly boring, but they also filter out the amazing stories that shaped the research. Rarely are discoveries so linear or coldly logical as they appear in scientific journals. We hope to share with you not only critical interpretations of neuroscientific discoveries past and present, but (where we can) stories of how those discoveries came to be.
At the same time, we aim to relate what it means to be a scientist, from a graduate student’s or postdoc’s perspective. What scientists do day to day is a mystery to most. Pop culture decorates us with thick glasses and poor social skills, while some politicians paint us as chronic fund wasters, mooching off the hardworking taxpayer. We won’t aim to debunk any myths, but we will use this platform to show what we do and what we’re thinking about.
Our goal with this blog is simply to share exciting science and relate our experiences. Those experiences are by no means authoritative or all-encompassing, either in science as a whole or in neuroscience specifically. And they certainly won’t be homogenous. We hope that through our personal stories we can show how awesome, scary and intellectually empowering it is to be a scientist, and how fascinating it is to work on the brain.