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MIND Guest Blog

The Search for a Nobel Prize-Winning Synapse Machine

In the cellular machinery that Rothman, Schekman and Südhof all helped reconstruct, a SNARE complex - made of synaptobrevin, syntaxin and SNAP-25 - zips together to bind a synaptic vesicle to the surface of a receiving neuron. Courtesy of Danko Dimchev Georgiev, M.D. via Wikimedia Commons.

2013’s Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine honors three researchers in particular – but what it really honors is thirty-plus years of work not only from them, but also from their labs, their graduate students and their collaborators. Winners James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Südhof all helped assemble our current picture of the cellular [...]

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Integrating Left Brain and Right, on a Computer


As computers have matured over time, the human brain has no way of keeping up with silicon’s rapid-fire calculating abilities. But the human cognitive repertoire extends far beyond just fast calculations. For that reason, researchers are still trying to develop computers that can recognize, interpret and act upon information—like the kind pulled in by eyes, [...]

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More Science in the Sunshine State

In the Sunshine State, science is ready to bloom. On December 5, I attended the official grand opening of the new, $64 million, 100,000-square-foot Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter—and the first of the Max Planck Institutes outside of Europe. The institute will focus on the human brain, which scientific director and CEO [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Remember When…How Your Brain Builds A Memory [Video]

Courtesy of Genista via Flickr.

        // Editor’s note: Brain Basics from Scientific American Mind is a series of short video primers on the brain and how we feel, think and act. Below is a synopsis of the fifth video in the series written by a guest on this blog, Roni Jacobson, a science journalist based in [...]

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Willy Chyr’s Neuroplastic Dreams – pop!


Willy Chyr is a fine artist and designer  interested in emergent properties and systems: and he sometimes works in balloons. I’ll be presenting an interview with Chyr here on Symbiartic soon; we met recently over coffee and from such fun, complicated work, Willy is refreshingly unpretentious and creatively versatile. To inflate your expectations of his [...]

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5 Reasons Your Camera Won’t Steal My Job

Illustration of a neuron © Cosmocyte

By far the most common question I get when I tell people that I am a scientific illustrator is one variation (some more tactful than others) of, “They still use illustrators? Why don’t they just photograph everything?” In fact, it’s a great question. Although photography is fantastically impressive and can offer glimpses into worlds both [...]

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