Nobel Conference 47The Brain and Being Human
Oct. 4 & 5, 2011

In recent years, novel collaborations between neuroscientists and researchers in seemingly disparate fields have forged new ideas and new questions about the working of the brain. Aspects of daily human life are now incorporated into the scientific arena in a new synthesis to understand the human experience and what it means to be human. The braiding of neuroscience with the humanities, arts, social sciences, theology, and engineering has empowered explanations of the motivations and operations of our daily activities. This insight engenders uncertainty in terms of how to best apply this knowledge responsibly and ethically, and perhaps is even challenging the distinctiveness of our own species.

The 47th Nobel ConferenceĀ® is a recognition that the time has come to bring together the leading minds and to engage them in conversations about where this frontier of science takes us. What influences our choices, beliefs and social needs, why do music and art move us, how might new bioengineered tools that help us move and communicate change how we interact with the world? At the heart of these questions is the importance of emotion to the well being of individuals and how the brains of patients with mood and social disorders differ from others. Underlying all of these issues is the ethical dimension: If we can peer into the mind, then how do we confront this power? As we start this conversation we will begin to build a scientific bridge between the mind and society. This conference will reveal both the intricate complexity and the unifying mechanisms underlying human behavior and lay out a path for future exploration.


John Donoghue, Ph.D.
Henry Merritt Wriston Professor, Department of Neuroscience, and Director of the Institute for Brain Science, Brown University, Providence, R.I.
Martha Farah, Ph.D.
Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences, and Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Center for Neuroscience and Society, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Paul W. Glimcher, Ph.D.
Professor of Neural Science, Economics, and Psychology, Center for Neural Science, and Director, Center for Neuroeconomics, New York University
Helen Mayberg, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, and Dorothy Fuqua Chair of Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics, Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.
Nancey Murphy, Ph.D., Th.D.
Professor of Christian Philosophy, School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif.
Aniruddh D. Patel, Ph.D.
Esther J. Burnham Senior Fellow in Theoretical Neurobiology, The Neurosciences Institute, San Diego, Calif.
Vilayanur Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Professor, Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program, University of California, San Diego
Larry J. Young, Ph.D.
William P. Timmie Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga., and Collaboratory Leader, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Atlanta