How can an engineer learn from neuroscientists

Madhusudan Natarajan nutty at brain
Mon Mar 3 22:34:25 EST 1997

Kevin Spencer (kspencer at wrote:
: junior1 at  [Bernie Arruza] writes:

: [snip]

: >Universities have very little incentive to merge their departments to study the
: >mysteries of the brain.

: Excuse me, but you are quite wrong.  I guess you don't know that many
: universities in the past 10 years have been establishing cognitive science
: and cognitive neuroscience departments and programs.  Whole conferences and
: journals devoted to these new integrative disciplines have sprung up.  The
: 1990s have been proclaimed the "Decade of the Brain" and the fed govt and
: private foundations have made funding cognitive neuroscience a priority.

Right, but a lot of these departments still are lost in the process of 
identity establishment. I was trying to get into a school for my Ph.D. 
where I could get my hands wet with animal models as well as try 
computational models. While individual people adopt this approach, whole 
programs do not run on these lines. The approach, I have found, in 
cognitive neuro. depts is to blend a mix of people who do whole system 
animal models (or some fraction thereof) and computational/psych. people, 
but rarely people who do both -- which would be the ideal mix. I found 
more biomed. departments catering to my interests of being an engineer as 
well as a  neuroscientist than any cognitive sciences program. (I ended 
up in a science program, but thats besides the point).

Anyway, just my two bits and based only on my anecdotal evidence from the 
past year.

For the original poster, the swiss group I was trying to locate was that 
of R. Douglas. (who incidentally worked with carver mead, who 
incidentally worked with Koch etc etc).

: [snip]

: >Unless things change, this train is going to slow down!. We are all waiting for
: >a scientific breakthrough. Wouldn't a technical breakthrough help to improve the
: >odds of success for all of us interested in how the brain functions?

Madhusudan Natarajan		
					..and still partly at..	
Ward 5-223 : Ph (312) 503 0202		
Dept. of Physiology			Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
Northwestern University			University of Akron

"I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has 
data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of 
theories to suit facts."    - Sherlock Holmes

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