The Wenatchee World

Weather:

Weather

The latest extended forecast from The Weather Channel

Remove this weather forecast

This Afternoon

Hi80° Mostly Sunny

Tonight

Lo56° Breezy

Wednesday

Hi77° Mostly Sunny

Wednesday Night

Lo52° Mostly Clear

Thursday

Hi79° Sunny

Thursday Night

Lo54° Mostly Clear

Friday

Hi83° Sunny

Friday Night

Lo57° Clear

Saturday

Hi86° Sunny

Saturday Night

Lo57° Clear

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 optionsorSign in