Mapping the Mind: Sebastian Seung on the Connectome

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Hour 2

Many people think that our genes tell the story of who we are. But a group of researchers believe that the wiring in our brain may be even more revealing and they’ve set out to make a map of it. Mapping the neural pathways in the brain is an enormous task – a brain can have up to 100 billion neurons and 10,000 times as many connections. MIT neuroscientist SEBASTIAN SEUNG is working on this awesome effort to chart the brain’s circuitry, or “connectome” as it’s called, and is developing computer systems to help. He says we still know surprisingly little about the gray matter in our heads but by tracing the connections, we can begin to unravel our memories, our personalities, and the diseases that affect us. Seung has written a book about this new frontier in brain science called Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are.

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[audio: 020912_110630.mp3]

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