Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, defined consciousness as the greatest unsolved problem in biology. The first major international conference of the Human Brain Project, held recently in Barcelona, has focused on the challenges and advances in its study. Jesús Méndez, of the scientific news agecy SINC, spoke with the local organiser of the conference, Mavi Sánchez Vives.
Philosopher Kathinka Evers does not think there is a sharp dualism between the unconscious and the conscious. Rather, the leader of the Human Brain Project’s Neuroethics and Philosophy Group, and the Ethics and Society Subproject (SP12) sees consciousness as a continuum.
An update on outreach events held by the HBP in Italy, The Netherlands and Great Britain.
HBP scientist Marcello Massimini believes we are close to a profound leap in our understanding of consciousness – he likens it to the moment before Charles Darwin began mining the rich seams of evidence that led to the theory of evolution.
Three times a second, 10,000 times every hour, your eyes saccade, jump in unison, shifting their focus from one spot in the visual field to another. And yet the world never appears to leap about or shake as it would if a camera were doing the same. Why?
With society facing a steadily increasing burden of brain disease, researchers in the HBP are launching a collaborative initiative to identify potential new brain drugs.