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Can We Reverse-Engineer the Brain?

Date & Time:
June 6, 2017 7:00 pm
Science B 103

This is a quantum public lecture by professor Michael Roukes of California Institute of Technology.


Although knowledge of the neuron role for brain computation has advanced significantly, we are far from understanding how brain circuits comprising complex neuron assemblies can process information, thus leading to the U.S. BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies). I discuss the tools we are creating for massively parallel interrogation of brain activity and the potential applications.

About the speaker

Michael Roukes is the Robert M. Abbey Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). He is renowned for his ground-breaking research in nanoscience and nanotechnology, and its application to neuroscience.

Prof. Roukes earned his PhD in physics from Cornell University in 1985, where his graduate adviser was Nobel Laureate Robert Richardson. His thesis research revealed new physical effects that are relevant to the operation of nanoscale devices at the forefront of modern electronics technology.

In 1992, Prof. Roukes moved to the California Institute of Technology where he pioneered the field of nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS). His leadership contributed to the founding of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at Caltech in 2002. More recently he has advocated for large-scale investment in neuroscience research, resulting in the BRAIN Initiative launched by the U.S. government in 2013.

Among his many honours, Prof. Roukes was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's Pioneer Award in 2010, was named Chevalier (Knight) of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the Republic of France in 2012, has contributed images from his research to the Museum of Modern Art, and has organized popular TEDxCaltech events on the Brain (2013) and on Richard Feynman’s continued influence on technology (2011).


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