Rethinking the way we think

Students of any field should develop an appreciation for science.

The Human Mind

Will we every come close to understanding the complexities of the human brain?

Tonight I attended a program put on by a campus student group called Supernova. The evening surrounded a lecture by university biology professor, Nathan Tublitz, and concluded with a viewing of a human brain, and of course, fresh pie.

Nathan provided a fantastic overview to the world of neuroscience and displayed a passion for curiosities of the human mind. His presentation style to the room of about 25 students and a few community members sprinkled in was engaging and lighthearted. At one point the entire audience was joined hand-in-hand to test the ability of our bodies to detect a squeeze on our left hand and pass it down the chain to our right. The movement of energy from one person to the next was visible with a transfer of chemical and electric signals passing through each individual’s arms. Our total time to complete the chain of actions: 11.13 seconds. For round two we stood in a way that each person placed a hand on the next person’s shoulder (thereby eliminating almost half the distance traveled by signals to the brain and back to the hand). Again the movement was visible and our total time was reduced as expected: just over 6 seconds. Of course there is human reaction time that varies and leads to slight error, but the point was made. Our bodies all function through a set of neurotransmitters that interact in a vast system with our brains.

Despite a PowerPoint that would make the authors of Presentation Zen freak, Nathan was able to inspire students and communicate his key messages. Although I’m a business student with focuses well outside the realm of neuroscience, I was grateful to be presented with knowledge from a professor who truly understands that we will never fully understand the complexities of the world around us. And perhaps that is not our purpose. It is our curiosity and ability to user our brains and gut instincts which allow us to conceive innovative ideas and take chances for the sake of progress. That is an idea upon which people of any profession can agree.

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