Mailed 8/8/97


Nobel Laureate to Discuss Theories of Brain Function

Upton, NY -- Nobel laureate Gerald M. Edelman will give a lecture titled "Is it Possible to Construct a Perception Machine?" at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory on Tuesday, September 2, at 4 p.m. in the Laboratory's Berkner Hall. The lecture is part of the BNL 50th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series, which features talks on various topics throughout 1997 to celebrate Brookhaven's beginning a half-century ago. The talks are open to the public free of charge.

Dr. Edelman has formulated a detailed theory to explain the development and organization of higher brain functions in terms of a process known as neuronal group selection. His theory was presented in 1987, in the widely known book, Neural Darwinism. Dr. Edelman's continuing work in theoretical neuroscience includes designing new kinds of machines, called recognition automata, for testing his theory. In his lecture, Dr. Edelman will discuss neuronal group selection as well as other modern theories on how the brain works and various efforts to stimulate higher brain functions.

A native of New York City, Gerald M. Edelman earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from Ursinus College in 1950, and an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1954. He spent a year at the Johnson Foundation of Medical Physics, and served as a medical house officer at Massachusetts General Hospital and, later, as a captain in the Army Medical Corps. In 1960, he earned his Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry at The Rockefeller Institute.

In 1972, Dr. Edelman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his early studies on the structure and diversity of antibodies. He has received numerous other prizes and honorary degrees and he has authored over 450 research publications.

Currently, Dr. Edelman is Director of The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California, and President of the Institute's not-for-profit parent organization, Neurosciences Research Foundation, Inc. He is also a member of The Scripps Research Institute and Chairman of the Institute's Department of Neurobiology.

For more information about the lecture, call Brookhaven's Public Affairs Office at 344-2345. The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway (County Road 46), one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway.

Brookhaven National Laboratory carries out basic and applied research in physical, biomedical and environmental sciences and in selected energy technologies. Associated Universities, Inc., a nonprofit research management organization, operates the Laboratory under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.