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Can Nobel laureates avoid intellectual death?


Waltzing with my wife
Eric Kandel Scientist
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Denise and I were heading to the dancing afterwards, and we bumped into Per Anderson, we bumped into many of our friends, several of you guys who were not at the banquet joined us, and I just so enjoyed talking to my friends that I couldn't pull away. By the time we had showed up, they had stopped playing waltzes, and they were doing rock 'n' roll. And Denise was furious. It turned out that in 2001, there was the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize. We were invited back, and this time of course no one was there to greet us, so we had a chance to waltz.

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: dance, banquet, waltz, rock ’n’ roll

Duration: 40 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2015

Date story went live: 04 May 2016