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February 7, 2012

Sebastian Seung

MIT neuroscientist SEBASTIAN SEUNG discusses his book Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are with Harvard's Jeff Lichtman.


The bold and thrilling quest to finally understand the brain—and along with it our mental afflictions, from depression to autism—by a rising star in neuroscience.

Seung, a dynamic young professor at MIT, is at the forefront of a revolution in neuroscience. He believes that our identity lies not in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells—our own particular wiring. Seung and a dedicated group of researchers are leading the effort to map these connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental effort—the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest—but if they succeed, they will uncover the basis of personality, identity, intelligence, memory, and perhaps disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Seung explains how this new map of a human “connectome” might even enable us to “upload” our brains into a computer, making us effectively immortal.

Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are, both as individuals and as a species.

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About Author(s)

Sebastian Seung is a Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT and the author of Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are. Seung has been a Sloan Research Fellow, a Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering, and a McKnight Scholar. A leader in his field, Sebastian is working to understand how memories are stored in connectomes, and more generally how experiences literally shape the connectivity of our brains.

Jeff Lichtman is a Professor of Mollecular and Cellular Biology in the neuroscience department at Harvard University.