On Serendip

Brain and Behavior Institute, 2003
Session 1
Starting Wherever We Are, To Get it Less Wrong

Getting to know each others stories

Paul Grobstein - I'm a neurobiologist who has done research on nervous system organization and development in crayfish, leeches, rabbits, and frogs. This research is related to and has extended to trying to explore more directly several broader questions about brain organization and development in humans, including the nature of representations of space, the distinction between conscious and unconscious processing, and the nature of individual choice and free will. I'm also a parent, biologist and educator, with an array of still more general interests in the underpinnings of human behavior, the nature of biological, cultural, and intellectual change, complex systems and general information processing principles, and the character of human understanding and the relationships among its different forms. Associated with this is a strong commitment to improving the educational environment at all levels and for all people. Common to all these aspects of myself is a strong belief in the capabilities of the human brain to explore and create, both individually and collectively, in ways that achieve improved understandings of the human condition and open new avenues for its further development. And a belief that modern information technology, including the web, is a distinctive and valuable tool for the extension of human understanding. The institute is my way of moving onward, to learn by sharing the stories I have and learning from those of others.

Write a brief introduction to yourself in the institute forum area. Include something of what you hope to get out of this institute.

Thinking about understanding and science

Imagine a story which the picture to the right represents, including some sense of where "science" fits into your story. Write it in the institute forum area.

Some other stories

Sharon Burgmayer
Transformation - an exhibit of water colors

Thinking about the brain

  The Brain - is wider than the Sky -
For - put them side by side -
The one the other will contain
With ease - and You - beside-

The Brain is deeper than the sea -
For - hold them - Blue to Bue -
The one the other will absorb -
As sponges - Buckets - do

The Brain is just the weight of God -
For - Heft them - Pound for Pound -
And they will differ - if they do -
As syllable from Sound -

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Does it matter whether Emily is right or not? One case (of many) ...

What story do you hear/see in Emily Dickinson's poem? Do you think the brain is wide enough to contain the sky ... "and You beside"? What would this imply? In general? About education? Write your thoughts in the institute forum area.