Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Michael S. Gazzaniga

Michael S. Gazzaniga is the director of the University of California–Santa Barbara's SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, as well as its Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience. He serves on the President's Council on Bioethics and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. His publications include The Ethical Brain: The Science of Our Moral Dilemmas and the newly released Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique.

From his Q & A at

If you could be reincarnated for one day to live the life of any scientist or writer, who would you choose and why?

That's easy. Richard Feynman. I knew him, knew what he was like but never could be him in the sense of how he apprehended phenomena. To have a sense of how he grasped the world and its relationships would be a stunning experience. He once spent a sabbatical year in the laboratory of the great biologist Max Delbruck. He toiled in the lab everyday doing experiments and at the end of year he gave a seminar to the Caltech biology department reporting on his studies. At the end he said, "Thanks for a great year but I am going back to physics. I don't think like a biologists and I would never be any good." Well, I realized then and as I do now, I will never be able to grasp such things as quantum mechanics and the other geometrical relationships Feynman saw and that is an unhappy fact about my own brain. I would like that for a day although I doubt it would change my psychological life much at all.
Read the entire Q & A.

The Page 99 Test: Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique.

--Marshal Zeringue