Brain Scientists Head to San Diego

Neuroscience 2013 is this year’s big event for brain scientists. Starting Saturday, more than 30,000 researchers, funders, drug-makers, and other wonderers from around the world are expected to swarm the San Diego Convention Center, to present and
discuss cutting-edge research on the brain and nervous system. Four of the events are free and open to the public, and some are being livecast, so if you’re in the area or even if you’re not, do consider joining us.

This is my seventh time attending (as a member of the press, not a brain expert), and I love to soak up the enthusiasm and cogent debate of these passionate folks. And boy, do I learn a lot. The event is organized by the people at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), whom we work with on many projects, especially Brain Awareness Week (next year March 10–16). On Saturday, we’ll be presenting during the Brain Awareness campaign reception, at 3 pm in the Convention Center’s Room 16AB.
SfN_AM_2013There is always a ton of new research at the conference; some of it is incremental or not-yet-ready-for-publication, so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of news stories on brain topics this weekend. But as always, take what you hear with a grain of salt, especially for work-in-progress. Early results don’t always pan out, and many results don’t stand the scrutiny of a second (replication) round
of research.

I’m especially looking forward to the two public programs Saturday. Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios will talk about “The Creative Culture,”  this year’s Dialogues between Neuroscience and Society lecture, starting at 11 am Pacific Time. These talks are always mind-stretching—previous speakers were the artist Chuck Close and the choreographer Mark Morris—and if you can’t make it SfN often posts a video from it. From 1:30 to 4, the Kavli public symposium also will focus on creativity, including Dana Alliance members Antonio Damasio on the neuroscience of creativity and Kay Redfield Jamison
on moods and imagination. I expect many people will be tweeting from these events.

Just before SfN’s annual meeting begins, we’ll be at the International Neuroethics Society’s annual meeting. On Thursday starting at 5 pm, panelists will investigate the ethics of neurogaming. Friday panel topics include moral enhancement, states of
consciousness, and criminality and the capacity for rehabilitation. The Friday panels will be webcast live.

We’ll be posting stories about most of these events over the next few weeks, but if you want to follow an up-to-the-minute feed you might hop onto Twitter: The official conference hashtag is #sfn13 and Nature editor Noah Gray has compiled a list of
top tweeters as well. If you’re interested in specific topics, you might follow one of SfN’s official neurobloggers, who are focusing on various themes, from nervous-system disorders to history and teaching.

In you’ are at the conference in San Diego, be sure to check out the evening socials. Researchers at UC-San Diego borrow from Daft Punk to invite you to theirs:

–Nicky Penttila

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