Past Event

Conversations on Cajal

March 26, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:45 PM
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Jerome L. Greene Science Center, Columbia University, 3227 Broadway, New York

Speakers: Larry Swanson, USC Dornsife

Ben Ehrlich, author

Join Zuckerman Institute visiting scientist Larry Swanson, PhD, and author Ben Ehrlich for an interdisciplinary look at the life and work of Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

Dr. Swanson will reflect on why Cajal’s research on the nervous system was so revolutionary at the time, and why it still has great relevance today. He will conclude with thoughts on future revolutions in neuroscience. Mr. Ehrlich will touch on the personal, social, artistic, political, and historical influences on the development of Cajal’s science. He will deconstruct Cajal’s vision of the brain, rooted in his place and time yet enduring in our own. He will tie examples from a multitude of disciplines to the way neuroscientists see the brain.

This event celebrates The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the first U.S. museum exhibition to present the drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal. It runs at the Grey Art Gallery through March 31.

Free and open to the public. For more details, please visit the event website.

Larry Swanson is a distinguished neuroanatomist and University Professor and Appleman Professor of Biological Sciences, Neurology, and Psychology at USC. His current research is focused on understanding the structure-function organization of brain circuits that control motivation and emotion using experimental animal models and network neuroscience analyses. During his sabbatical from January to June 2018 in the Kandel Lab, he is collaborating on a project to identify and characterize neural circuits involved in the expression of post-traumatic stress disorders. In addition, he and his wife have translated three of Cajal’s books, New Ideas on the Structure of the Nervous System in Man and Vertebrates, his two-volume masterpiece The Histology of the Nervous System in Man and Vertebrates, and Advice to a Young Investigator. Larry is also a past president of the Society for Neuroscience.

Benjamin Ehrlich is the author of The Dreams of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (Oxford University Press). His work on Cajal has appeared in The Paris Review Daily, Nautilus, and New England Review, where he serves on the Editorial Panel. A Salzburg Global Fellow, Ben is a co-founder of The Beautiful Brain, a website devoted to art and neuroscience, and a member of NeuWrite, the science writing workshop sponsored by Columbia University. His new book, The Brain That Discovered Itself, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and will tell the story of the discovery of the neuron and history of modern brain science through the life and work of Nobel Prize-winner Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934).

This event is sponsored by the Zuckerman Institute at Columbia University.