Brain Clocks: The Neuroscience of Time
Time is something we want more of, and want to do more with. Whether we like it or not, our brains are running multiple clocks that pace aging, wake us up, and control how quickly our muscles fire at the gym.
Time in the brain is most certainly unlike the time you remember from physics class. Brain Clocks explores the neuroscience of time using studies of high performance, as well as examining the bizarre and crippling effects that broken clocks have on the mind.
Left: A History of the Hemispheres
In the late nineteenth century a mild-mannered surgeon from Paris fostered a discovery that spurred a revolution. It spat in the face of the Church, upturned decades of intuitions, and was a turning point in the history of brain science. The two sides of our brains are different.
Left journeys through history to meet our tool-making ancestors, the first-ever serial killers, and modern-day scientists who have all partaken in the story of our asymmetric brains.
Mello et al. find that the majority of neurons encoding time in the striatum, a central basal ganglia structure, contract and dilate their firing based on the task interval. These results highlight how neural activity is translated into optimally timed motor actions.
Whether there is an underlying neural code that can explain information transfer in the brain has yet to be determined. This paper explores the idea that more neurons than we currently appreciate may live near dormancy and how those quasi-quiescent states contribute to computation in the brain.
There are a few theories about what makes us intelligent. Brain weight or volume? Neuron size or count? But what about the neural code itself? This paper explores that possibility that humans encode information better than other species, albeit, with some interesting tradeoffs.
This team established a set of rules that govern intrinsic reward of a game-playing agent. Interestingly, their “curiosity-driven” learning model achieves similar performance when compared to conventional, extrinsically-rewarded learning models.
Dietary lifestyle affects our environment—but it’s a convoluted landscape. It seems everyone has an agenda that leads to reductionist viewpoints. This paper takes a “cradle to grave” (or “farm to fork”) approach to analyzing dietary impact on the environment.
A fascinating conversation about past and present space missions. Dr. Butler Hine is the Flight Project Manager and Chief Technologist for Engineering at the NASA Ames Research Center and a senior research scientist at IHMC.
Sharena Rice is fantastic. She is a punster-calligrapher-scientist. Her positively contagious personality and perspective on life might just make your day.
She’s a young woman whose story will make your heart beat just a little bit louder. Elizabeth Rodriguez is the rare amalgamation of motherly wisdom and youthful flare that is chicken soup for our souls.
Rafi Kohen is a Turkish delight, an infectious concoction of talent and personality. From tackling problems of synaptic plasticity during the day, to unleashing his tango at night, he’s a man you could enjoy tea and laughs with for days on end.
Kate is Midwest modesty and big city drive, all wrapped into one. Although she isn’t one to brag, she’s a classically trained musician—Vivaldi on the violin—not to mention Picasso with a pencil! This will be the last time you think of corn fields when you hear the word “Nebraska” because, if Kate’s smile hasn’t already won you over, her story will.
She is a tea-drinking, guitar-playing runner who believes that education is a right, not a privilege. She studies from a three-inch heap of notecards, daydreams about time travel, and, in high school, thought she would eventually become a quantum physicist. Ladies and gentlemen, Christina May is a huge force in a petite package, and she is impossible to forget!