|Nobel Prize Winner
ERIC R. KANDEL, M.D.
March 10, 2006
4:15 p.m. Reading/Talk
Assembly Hall, Campus Center
UAlbany, Uptown Campus
Eric Kandel received the 2000 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his groundbreaking work on the basic molecular mechanisms underlying learning and memory. James D. Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, asserts that Kandel's molecular approach to brain science "has revolutionized human understanding of how information received by our senses is hard-wired."
Kandel is the author most recently of "In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind" (2006), a book written for the lay reader that explains how behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology have converged into a powerful new science of the mind. The book also provides astonishing new insights into the elements of mental functioning- perception, thought, emotion, and memory, as well as such infirmities as schizophrenia, depression, and dementia. The book also treats the reader to tales from the life of the 76-year-old neuroscientist.
"Eric Kandel has written a stunning book which moves, almost with a single breath, from first to last, and gives an extraordinary picture of this last incredible half-century of neuroscience." - Oliver Sacks, bestselling neuroscientist
"a scintillating mix of memoir, history of science, and fundamental biology without peer. It shows compellingly what first-rate science is and how it is created." - E. O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist
Born to a cultured Jewish family in Vienna in 1929, Kandel and his family endured many episodes of anti-Jewish discrimination. On Kristallnacht, in November of 1938, Nazi thugs burst into the Kandels' apartment and forced young Eric, his brother, and parents out into the street. The family returned a week or so later to find their home ransacked and vandalized. They emigrated to the United States shortly thereafter.
Kandel majored in history and literature at Harvard University, before pursuing a medical degree at the NYU School of Medicine. He began his research career at the National Institute of Mental Health, where he studied mammalian brain neurophysiology. After finishing a residency in clinical psychology, he joined the staff of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston, while continuing to conduct research and teach at Harvard Medical School. He became a professor of Physiology and Psychiatry at NYU in 1965, then joined the faculty at Columbia in 1974, where he founded and directed the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior.
Kandel currently serves as University Professor of Neurobiology at Columbia University, and Senior Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, his many honors include the Lasker Award, the Gairdner Award, the Harvey Prize, and the National Medal of Science.
Dr. Kandel was the invited speaker at the dedication of SUNYA's Biology Building (c. 1968).
(Photo credit: Robert Speck. Courtesy of: David G. Tieman)
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