Ratio Presents: The Idea of the Brain |

Ratio Presents: The Idea of the Brain

This is the story of our quest to understand the most mysterious and complex object in the Universe.

From Descartes’s idea that the brain is a hydraulic system, through nineteenth-century comparisons of the brain to a telegraph, to current conceptions of the brain as a supercomputer, we will see how technological changes have given scientists a range of ideas of what the brain is—only to see such ideas tossed away when a new technology comes along.

Over the decades, scientists have repeatedly clashed over whether function is localised to particular parts of our brain, as in a machine, or if it is rather distributed across regions, represented by the incredibly complex networks of our tens of billions of neurons. Which is true?

Informative, mind-boggling and amusing, this talk will take you to the frontier of our ideas about the brain, and show you what might be on the other side.