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Science AMA Series: Hi Reddit, I’m David Linden, a neuroscientist working on brain plasticity and the editor of a new book of essays: “Think Tank: 40 Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience.” AMA!
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Hello Reddit, my name is David Linden and I’m a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In my lab, I study neural plasticity- the ability of the brain to be modified by experience- whether from learning, hibernation, hormonal fluctuations or injury. I have a long-standing interest in scientific communication and have served for years as the chief editor of The Journal of Neurophysiology. I’ve also written several books about neural function for a general audience including The Accidental Mind (2007), The Compass of Pleasure (2011) and Touch (2015). I find that scientists are trained to be meticulous when they speak about their work. That’s why I like getting my neuroscience colleagues tipsy. For years, after plying them with spirits, I’ve been asking brain researchers the same simple question: “What idea about brain function would you most like to explain to the world?” I’ve been delighted with their responses. They don’t delve into the minutiae of their latest experiments or lapse into nerd speak. They sit up a little straighter, open their eyes a little wider, and give clear, insightful, and often unpredictable or counterintuitive answers. A new book I’ve edited, called “Think Tank: 40 Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience” (Yale Press, 2018) is the result of those conversations. I’ve invited a group of the world’s leading neuroscientists, my dream team of thoughtful, erudite, and clear-thinking researchers, to answer that key question in the form of a short essay. I have encouraged each author to choose her or his own topic to tell the scientific story that she or he is burning to share in clear and compelling language. Lets’ talk brains, behavior and scientific communication. I look forward to having you #AskMeAnything on April 30th, 1 PM ET.