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Transformed by my time at Erasmus Hall

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Falling in love
Eric Kandel Scientist
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The Yeshivah was quite a nice experience. I learned a lot of Hebrew. By the time I graduated I could speak Hebrew almost as well as I could speak English and I made some good friends. A guy called Ernie Bogen who introduced me to jazz.

Evelyn Rinehart. I had a transient love experience with a maid in Vienna that of course never got anywhere, but with Evelyn Rinehart I had a very peculiar experience. She was a very attractive woman, about two or three seats away from me, and I would just stare at her for, you know, periods on end and she after a while told some mutual friends that I should cut it out, and I did. And we periodically spoke, we never dated. And that was the end of it.

But many years later, when I went back to the Yeshiva on a visit, when a film about me was being made, I wanted to get a sense of whether my classmates remembered their experience the way I remembered mine. And I called her, and she didn’t even remember who I was. So this is my first American love experience. A complete disaster.

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: Yeshivah Flatbush, Evelyn Rinehart

Duration: 1 minute, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2015

Date story went live: 04 May 2016