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Roger Tsien Interview - What is the most urgent question yet unanswered in your field of science?

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Now we come to different circles of science. In one area that I work on, we’re still not doing very well in helping cancer patients. We’re making a little bit of progress, slow progress, but not nearly as well as would satisfy people who actually are suffering from cancer... ...and that’s one thing we work on. We also work a bit in areas of neurobiology where, despite a lot of progress... understanding the brain and how it creates the mind and consciousness, there is still a fundamentally huge gap between those concepts and how... ...neurons process information to enable all the things that make human beings, human minds work, in the sense that at least in principle inside a computer, some engineer could reproduce for you all the individual steps in the electronic circuit... which, when somebody pushes a key on the keyboard, in principle you could describe what happens inside the program and inside the computer... that, say, a new Web site flashes up on the screen. We can describe that. If it came to, say: I am talking to you and you’re listening, how does that trigger you to come up with a new concept in the brain – – we have no idea how to describe that. So there’s a big problem, one of the central problems in neurobiology. Even how it is that you remember something – a fact, or how to do something, a skill. How do you know how to sign your name? How can we describe how you can recognize your mother’s face compared to... ... your sister’s face, or your own face in the mirror? We can’t tell you how the brain does that. So there’s a huge problem. Now, that’s just on the biological side. Then in the world as a whole, obviously we have a big problem with climate change... ...and how do we more efficiently capture energy from sunlight. Lots of things for younger people to figure out, that us older people haven’t managed to finish off. There’s huge, huge amounts.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 32 seconds
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Producer: MoleClues TV
Director: Per Thoren
Views: 171
Posted by: locumele on Dec 15, 2009

Nobel Prize winner Roger Tsien interviewed for MoleClues. Entire interview available on

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