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Gaining an education thanks to my parents' hard work


Blossoming intellectually at Erasmus Hall
Eric Kandel Scientist
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In Erasmus I blossomed intellectually. I was very good in history, and I wrote essays, and my teachers asked me to read the essays out loud on a number of occasions. And I also became a sports editor for The Dutchman, the school newspaper. Now it turns out that my predecessor, as the sports editor of The Dutchman, was Myron Kandel, unrelated. And he and I both thought that maybe we’d make journalism a career.

I also wrote a column called ‘Breaking the Tape with Eric Kandel’ for Gotham Sports, this was a newspaper weekly, in which I described what was happening in track. And Myron went on to have a very distinguished career in journalism, and I for various reasons dropped out.

Eric Kandel (b. 1929) is an American neuropsychiatrist. He was a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. He shared the prize with Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard. Kandel, who had studied psychoanalysis, wanted to understand how memory works. His mentor, Harry Grundfest, said, 'If you want to understand the brain you're going to have to take a reductionist approach, one cell at a time.' Kandel then studied the neural system of the sea slug Aplysia californica, which has large nerve cells amenable to experimental manipulation and is a member of the simplest group of animals known to be capable of learning. Kandel is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is also Senior Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, which is now the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University. Kandel's popularized account chronicling his life and research, 'In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind', was awarded the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Science and Technology.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Harvard University

Duration: 55 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2015

Date story went live: 04 May 2016