Science Beyond the SciLi: Professor John Davenport on the State of Neuroscience

It can seem like the field of science is limited to torturous problem sets in the SciLi dungeon basement. But there is  awesome stuff going on in the sciences at Brown and beyond, though it can be difficult to find when you’re wasting away in the library. BlogDH presents “Science Beyond the SciLi,” so even if you’re reading this inside those concrete walls, you can see a glimmer of scientific hope.

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On Thursday night, a packed audience gathered in the back of Flatbread Company to listen to neuroscientist R. John Davenport speak on “Wiring Connections in Brain Science.” The talk was hosted by Science Underground and powered by free Flatbread pizza, which is the ultimate brain food, as everyone knows. Davenport, an adjunct professor of Neuroscience and the associate director of Brown Institute for Brain Science, gave an overview of the current state of neuroscience and where the field is going.

Fun fact: The brain is made of 100 billion neurons. That’s as many stars as there are in the Milky Way galaxy. Each neuron makes a thousand connections with other neurons, so basically a neuron would be killing the LinkedIn game. But these connections are way more important than your endorsement-seeking acquaintances: they make up the brain functions that allow you to do everything from reading a map to playing chess. Neuroscientists are working on mapping all of these connections in what they call the “connectome,” the equivalent of the Human Genome Project for neural connections, so it’s a pretty big deal. Continue Reading