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Nerves and Synapses - A General Preview

Speaker  Michal Linial

Affiliation  Hebrew University

Host  Yael Kalai

Duration  01:10:38

Date recorded  13 August 2014

My talk is a brief preview of neuroscience (pre-101..). I will share with you some of the brain’s mysteries and will illustrate the capacity of neurons to rewire and thus to learn (and forget). To do so, we will discuss (briefly) how neurons convey information, what are the principles underlying neuronal communication and the fundamental rules of electrical and chemical messengers. The uniformity and the variability of neurons that are involved in high brain functions (mathematics?) and those that make sure that we quickly remove our finger from a hot plate will be discussed. I will mention the capacity of the human brain vis-à-vis that of our cousins, the chimps, and other nerve systems. Is our brain really so different? (Probably so), what makes us human? (I have no clue..), why are we all fascinated by the brain? (easy to demonstrate). I will introduce you to synapses and describe classical and novel approaches to understand the brain (or at least better describe it). Importantly, I will emphasize how essential it is to study the brain at different levels of resolution and by applying an interdisciplinary approach. I promise to pose more questions than answers...

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