complexity

kdilliplan's picture

Scents Sense: Olfaction, Memory and the Capabilities of the Brain

 The human nervous system is made up of three overall types of neuronal connections. These connections link sensory neurons to the rest of the nervous system, the nervous system to motor neurons, or neurons within the nervous system to other neurons in the nervous system. Inter-neuronal connections are by far the most numerous of all connections in the nervous system, while sensory neuron connections are relatively sparse. Because of this disproportionate number of connection types, it is essential that the human brain be able to derive complex reactions from very few sensory inputs. The link between olfaction and memory provides a truly remarkable example of this ability. Olfa

Paul Grobstein's picture

Making sense of the world: the need to entertain the inconceivable

An interesting example of the constraints placed on inquiry by stories that make some things difficult to conceive came up in Neurobiology and Behavior last week, during a discussion of the ability of the nervous system to generate outputs by itself rather than simply in response to external stimuli.

"Perhaps I've just had the idea that 'cause equals effect' engrained in my mind for so long that it's just difficult to sway me, but I still feel that there must be some input to trigger reactions in our body" 

Paul Grobstein's picture

On beyond an algorithmic universe

Very rich conversations this week with Stuart Kauffman, a theoretical biologist, Alan Baker, a philosopher, and Scott Gilbert, a developmental biologist, first over dinner and then during a panel discussion with additional input from Mark Kuperberg, an economist, and Billie Grassie, founder of the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science.  Delighted if any of them wanted to weigh in with their own thoughts in the on-line forum below (along with anyone else interested in the

aseidman's picture

Transcript of the First Annual Bedroom Debates

 

Hello and welcome to the first annual 2010 Bedroom Debates! I’m Arielle Seidman, and I’ll be your host for a fascinating few pages of reclined repartee!

jrf's picture

Discomfort with in-betweens

In thinking more about and sharing the images we read in class on Tuesday, I found that the in-between nature of the images seemed to cause discomfort to me and others. Why should the existence of in-between objects elicit disgust? Similarly, our readings mentioned historical attempts by Westerners to either make other cultures' literary works fit into Western genres or establish those other cultures as deficient for not matching the Western pattern closely. Why is maintaining the open mind to the evolution of genre that Dimock and Owen call for so difficult? Do we need computers to do this for us?

Paul Grobstein's picture

Alternative perspectives on randomness and its significance

Interesting lunch conversation with Mike Sears over winter break, following up on issues that have arisen in the evolving system open discussions.

Neurobiology and Behavior, Spring, 2010, Home Page

Welcome to the home page of Biology 202 at Bryn Mawr College. Pleased to have you here. I'm looking forward to an interesting,enjoyable, productive semester of "getting it less wrong", and hope you are too. Let's have some fun, and see what we can all make out of it together.

 

randomness