Our brains have about 86 billion neurons, each with over a thousand synaptic connections. The visual processing required in order to read these lines, involves around 30 different parts of our brain and a vast network of connections. It is a mystery. Although we know more and more about the nature of the brain and the way it works, we have been building such knowledge step by step. The guest of this session hopes that his work will speed up this process.
The neuroscientist Carl Edward Schoonover (1983, United States) specialises in the micro-anatomy and electro-physiology of the cortex. The online video of his TED talk has over 850,000 views. In this presentation, moderated by Jorge Félix Cardoso, of the Porto Biomedical Journal, and Vasco Galhardo, a neuroscience specialist from the University of Porto, Schoonover will explain how our knowledge of the brain largely depends on the instruments that we have invented to look at it, in our attempts to understand its complexity. These include a cornucopia of tools and a huge amount of information - from medieval sketches and the elaborate drawings produced by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, to the seemingly architectural sophistication – that have indisputable scientific utility and intense artistic beauty - of the images revealed by the modern biotechnological and tomographic techniques employed by this Columbia University research scientist.