The human brain consists of a 100 billion neurons connected by a 100 trillion synapses. In its computational function, each neuron is a simple electrical device. In this sense it is no different, in its conceptual essence, from a transistor or a diode in a silicon microchip, converting input signals into ephemeral voltage pulses that transmit to other neurons. And yet, the collective effect of these tiny electrical flutterings creates the intelligent mind, with its astonishing capacity for perception and action, memory and imagination, affection and indifference. In the words of Ramon y Cajal (1854-1932), a founding figure of neuroscience, neurons are "the mysterious butterflies of the soul, whose beating of wings may one day reveal to us the secrets of the mind." In this talk, Vijay Balasubramanian will explore current ideas about how this transmutation occurs.
Vijay Balasubramanian is a physicist and computational neuroscientist and is the Cathy and Marc Lasry Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He is interested in the principles that govern the organization of neural circuits and studies how complex functions emerge from the interaction of many simple constituents. He has worked on numerous systems in the brain including those that enable vision, audition, olfaction, motor control, navigation, learning, and decision making. He directs the Computational Neuroscience Initiative at Penn and is an External Professor of the Santa Fe Institute.
You can reserve your free tickets to this event via the Lensic Performing Arts Center's box office. Please abide by the Lensic's COVID safety policies.
This lecture will be streamed live via SFI's YouTube channel, and recorded for future viewing.
The 2023 Santa Fe Institute Community Lecture Series is free to attend thanks to generous sponsorship from the McKinnon Family Foundation, with additional support from the Santa Fe Reporter, and the Lensic Performing Arts Center.