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Three before their time: neuroscientists whose ideas were ignored by their contemporaries

Dr. Charles Gross

Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Princeton University, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Institute

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Sometimes, a scientist's ideas are rejected by their contemporaries or, simply ignored. Much more rarely, these ideas become accepted as revolutionary insights decades or even centuries later. I will primarily discuss three such cases in neuroscience, Emanuel Swedenborg's (1688-1772) ideas on cerebral cortex, Claude Bernard's (1813-1878) theory that a complex nervous system depends on the constancy of the internal environment and Joseph Altman's (1925-) discovery of adult neurogenesis. I will discuss the context of their work, why their ideas were ignored, and how these ideas finally triumphed.

Dr. Charles Gross