Gerald M. Edelman
Founding Director of the Neurosciences Institute; President of the Neurosciences Research Foundation; Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA.
Prior to embarking on a doctoral degree in science, Gerald Edelman practiced medicine as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He went on to make important contributions to the fields of biophysics, protein biochemistry, immunology, cell biology and neurobiology, throughout a scientific career that now spans six decades. His research achievements have earned him numerous scientific honours as well as popular accolades. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1972, awarded for his contributions to understanding the structural basis for antibody diversity. Changing his focus of research to developme ntal biology, in 1975 he was the first to describe the existence of the molecules that glue the developing neurons of the brain's circuitry together. He is also the father of «neural Darwinism», a multidisciplinary theory that combines insights about brain composition, connectivity, structure, function, and evolution. While remaining emphatically opposed to the analogy of the brain as a computer, Professor Edelman has recently made use of computers to model states of human consciousness and conclude that it is an entirely biological phenomenon. He has written a highly accessible account of his alternative to "hard wiring" of the brain's conscious processes in " Bright Air, Brilliant Fire" and is the author of a series of more specialist books that develop a novel theory of human consciousness. Gerald Edelman is not afraid of controversy. He also a master of the art of telling a story and among other things, an accomplished musician. He would probably try to tell you that his myriad skills are not as different from each other as they might appear to be. Courtesy of The Neurosciences Institute, La Jolla Courtesy of The Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico