The Wenatchee World



The latest extended forecast from The Weather Channel

Remove this weather forecast

This Afternoon

Hi39° Sunny


Lo19° Clear

Thanksgiving Day

Hi35° Sunny

Thursday Night

Lo19° Mostly Clear


Hi34° Sunny

Friday Night

Lo22° Mostly Clear


Hi34° Patchy Fog

Saturday Night

Lo23° Patchy Fog


Hi34° Patchy Fog

Sunday Night

Lo21° Patchy Fog

Three pounds of matter and one brainy idea

Send to Kindle
Print This

PRINCETON, N.J. — Fifty years from now, when Malia and Sasha are grandmothers, their father’s presidency might seem most consequential because of a small sum — $100 million — for studying something small. “As humans,” Barack Obama said when announcing the initiative to study the brain, “we can identify galaxies light-years away ... but we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears.”

Actually, understanding the brain will be a resounding success without unlocking the essential mystery, which is: How does matter become conscious of itself? Or should we say, how does it become — or acquire — consciousness? Just trying to describe this subject takes scientists onto intellectual terrain long occupied by philosophers. Those whose field is the philosophy of mind will learn from scientists such as Princeton’s David Tank, a leader of the BRAIN Initiative, which aims at understanding how brain regions and cells work together, moment to moment, throughout our lives.

View my options or Sign in