A Program in Neuroscience

The Bucknell Neuroscience Lecture Series celebrates our new Program in Neuroscience at Bucknell University.

We are delighted to join the large number of academic institutions and researchers worldwide that are engaged in the exploration of the brain and behavior.

The field of neuroscience is dedicated to the study of the brain and nervous system: the physiological locus of our thoughts, perceptions, memories, desires and actions. Neuroscience promises to influence nearly every domain of human inquiry, and it is now part of the public dialogue on the nature of human existence. Tom Wolfe, celebrated author and the recent recipient of Bucknell’s Janet Weis award in Contemporary Letters, described neuroscience as “the future of academia” and a field that is “changing the way that humans look at themselves.”

The human brain and nervous system contains roughly 100 billion neurons—the functional units of the brain. Neural communication is the foundation for all that we do: When we see, neurons carry information from the eye to brain; when we speak, neurons coordinate our thoughts and the muscles of mouth and vocal tract; when we learn, neurons adapt; when we think and feel, neurons become activated and coordinated. Neuroscience requires investigation at multiple levels of analysis, from microscopic analysis of cellular and molecular processes to histological analysis of brain tissue, to electrical and magnetic analysis of brain structure and function. How these systems work and develop allowing organisms to behave is the essence of neuroscience, and the multiple levels of analysis involved in these processes make neuroscience a truly interdisciplinary field.

Neuroscientists apply their methods to ask both basic and applied questions, some of which have been the subject of intense philosophical debate for centuries: What is the nature of the mind, and what is the link between mind and brain? What is language and how did it evolve? How do other species communicate? How is the brain structured and how does it develop? To what extent can nervous systems change and adapt?

Neuroscientists also address applied issues: What is the role of the nervous system in developmental disorders such as autism? Might neuroscience lead to the prevention or cure of disorders like autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or other disorders that affect the brain? Neuroscience may hold the key to these and related questions.

We welcome you to the Bucknell Lectures in Neuroscience. Our invited speakers are leaders in their field, and represent many different aspects of neuroscience. We are honored to have them visit our campus to address our students, faculty and community, to share their knowledge and enthusiasm as we inaugurate our Program in Neuroscience. We hope that you will join us in our celebration by participating in the Bucknell Lectures in Neuroscience.

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