May 13, 2011

Neuroscience writer and author Jonah Lehrer

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Jonah Lehrer, an author and journalist who has explored decision-making and the confluence of science and the humanities, will give a talk this fall as part of the ongoing Bucknell Forum national speakers series, "Creativity: Beyond the Box."

His talk, "Imagine: The Science of Creativity," will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell.

Lehrer, who has been called an "important new thinker" by the Los Angeles Times and a "popular science prodigy" by The New York Times, is a contributing editor at Wired who has written two best-selling books, How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist.

"Jonah Lehrer has the ability to explain important and complex concepts," said Joe Tranquillo, assistant professor of biomedical and electrical engineering and a member of the Bucknell Forum Task Force. "And he offers insight into the questions that are of interest to all: How does the human mind make decisions, and how can you make those decisions better?"

In his latest book, How We Decide, Lehrer explains that there are two main parts of the brain involved in decision-making, the rational and the emotional, and that understanding this helps us to make better decisions. "What Lehrer delivers is a readily engaging, literate and well-researched glimpse into the great mystery of how we make up our minds," said a San Francisco Chronicle review.

In his first book, Proust Was a Neuroscientist, Lehrer writes that there is an intimate relationship between science and the humanities and argues that many of neuroscience's more recent discoveries are actually rediscoveries of the insights of various artists, most notably French novelist Marcel Proust.

As a neuroscience research assistant at Columbia University, where he also edited the Columbia Review, Lehrer studied the biological process of memory and what happens in the brain on a molecular level when a person remembers or forgets information. Later, as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, he studied 20th-century literature and philosophy.

He is a contributing editor at Scientific American Mind and National Public Radio's Radio Lab and has written for The New Yorker, Nature, Seed, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.

He also is featured in brief informational sessions on the Science Channel's "Brink" TV show. || See "Colbert Report" interview

The Bucknell Forum
The "Creativity: Beyond the Box" Bucknell Forum series began in fall 2009 and continues through spring 2012. Speakers in the series have included famed choreographer and author Twyla Tharp, award-winning MIT architect and designer Neri Oxman, innovative visual communicator and author Dan Roam, civil-rights activist, singer and "songtalker" Bernice Johnson Reagon, renowned Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat, and theoretical physicist and author Brian Greene.

Acclaimed recording artist, performer and philanthropist John Legend, who has won nine Grammy awards and was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, will speak and perform Tuesday, Jan. 24.

The "Creativity: Beyond the Box" series task force comprises faculty members Carmen Gillespie, Beth Capaldi Evans, Paula Davis, Joe Tranquillo, Margot Vigeant and Zhiqun Zhu; students Michael Davis, Class of '13, and Lindsay Machen, Class of '11; and administrators Kari Conrad, Rob Springall and Pete Mackey, chair.

Since 2007, the Bucknell Forum speakers series has featured nationally renowned leaders, scholars and commentators who have examined various issues from multi-disciplinary perspectives and a diversity of viewpoints. || Previous series events

Contact: Division of Communications


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