John E. Dowling (Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology)
Freshman Seminar 22M 4 credits (spring term) Enrollment: Limited to 15
Prerequisite: High school science.
Note: The class will run only 2 hours within the time block. Professor Dowling especially invites those students who are not planning to concentrate in neurobiology or a natural science to join the seminar.
What makes us human and unique among all creatures is our brain. Perception, consciousness, memory, learning, language, and intelligence all originate in and depend on the brain. The brain provides us with wondrous things, from mathematical theories to symphonies, from automobiles and airplanes, to trips to the moon. But when it goes awry, we are undone. (From “Understanding the Brain”)
This seminar will be an introduction to our present understanding of neural and brain function. It is designed for students not planning to concentrate in neuroscience, but who enjoy science and are curious about the brain. We will read from my recently published book “Understanding the Brain: From Cells to Behavior to Cognition that is accessible to anyone with a high school science background. Each chapter begins with a vignette, usually about a neurodegenerative or other brain disorder that is then explained further in the chapter.