Mapping 100 Trillion Connections: My new brain column for Discover

By Carl Zimmer | March 21, 2012 10:52 am

Our 80 billion neurons form an estimated 100 trillion connections. Through those links surge the signals that make thought possible. Sebastian Seung of MIT has been calling for a full-blown atlas of those connections, because he believes it will help us understand how the brain works and how the brain makes us who we are. In the April issue of Discover, I pay a visit to Seung’s lab to see what he’s up to, and what he hopes for the future. Check it out.

I couldn’t be happier that this column is available a couple weeks before Seung will participate in a public debate about the connectome on April 2, hosted by myself and Robert Krulwich of Radiolab. The tickets were all snapped up about an hour and a half after becoming available online, but I will certainly report back afterwards about how it went.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Brains, Talks, Writing Elsewhere

Comments (3)

  1. I am halfway through the book and it is pretty good. However, as interesting as it would be to map each connection, as in a thorough atlas, would be really uphill. Also by neccesity, it would be a picture of a specific point in time. There will be connections that would be fairly constant, like the ones required for specific circuits for example. Other will always be changing with learning, memory, etc…

    I will continue reading so see what happens…. (:-)…

  2. Sorry for the typos… I am learning to play with the iPad…

  3. tut

    Is there a way to see all the “pages” of a post at once?


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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