The Frontal Cortex

Glamorous Science

Is this true? Are neuroscientists really the cool kids? If so, then what is the “coolest” avenue of neuroscience research? (And please don’t say consciousness studies.)

Q. Among biologists, is sperm research very respected?

A. Well, in biology, all the glamour is in neuroscience. The common thing said is: “Learning and memory, that’s the theoretical physics of biology.” In terms of prestige, reproduction is far down the line. Another thing: because reproductive research is about sex and possibly about contraception, it doesn’t get a lot of funding. That too has something to do with its low status.

Whenever I speak in some neurobiology department, you always get someone asserting, “Sperm aren’t as interesting as neurons.” I then have to say: “Sperm have everything neurons have, and more. Sperm can secrete DNA. They move. They have terrific mechanical problems to overcome.”

Comments

  1. #1 BenP
    January 23, 2007

    “Sperm aren’t as interesting as neurons.” I then have to say: “Sperm have everything neurons have, and more. Sperm can secrete DNA. They move. They have terrific mechanical problems to overcome.”

    I like that !

  2. #2 John McKay
    January 23, 2007

    I don’t know about cool or glamorous, but the most lucrative avenue in neuroscience research is probably overcoming the tinfiol barrier to remote brain control.

  3. #3 Sammy
    January 24, 2007

    Speaking as a high school senior, neuroscience has been the most interesting aspect of biology since I took the class in freshman year. I think it’s one of the aspects of biology that everyone feels they can relate to (never mind the fact that technically, any animal relates to every aspect of bio somehow). It’s just that everyone knows the way they think, and it’s interesting to wonder “How?”

    Still, I’ve got to say, that is a pretty good response. He is absolutely right.