This week’s Ask-a-ScienceBlogger question is:
If you could have practiced science in any time and
any place throughout history, which would it be, and why?…
Hmmm. I am not going to answer that question, exactly.
Instead, I will rephrase it, and answer the question that I
would like to be asked.
If you could practice science in any time and place in history, for
while, then come back to the present day, where are when
would you pick?
I would like to have been around during the turn of the last two
centuries, in central Europe, as an associate of Sigmund
Freud. Dr. Freud was a neurologist at first, and
held the belief that psychiatric conditions eventually would be
explained by neuroscience.
It is difficult for me to see, from a 21st-century perspective, exactly
how he diverged from neuroscience to psychoanalysis, partly because it
is difficult to see how one could have conceptualized neuroscience at
Without knowing anything about neurotransmitters, receptors, or
second-messenger systems, how would it have been possible to think of
neurosis as having a physiological basis?
Perhaps I am wrong, but I have an intuitive sense that an understanding
of that early perspective would provide some interesting inspiration
that could be used to formulate intriguing hypotheses in modern times.