- I love to write about science and about the relationship
between neuroscience, medicine, philosophy and the world at large. I
write both for other scientists as well as for the general
public. Here you can find links to these publications.
- My latest book, Consciousness - Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist has been
published by MIT Press. Here is a 4 min long
YouTube video about it (made by Moran Cerf).
It sumarizes the modern science of consciousness. What links
conscious experience of pain, joy, color, and smell to bioelectrical
activity in the brain? How can anything physical give rise to
nonphysical, subjective, conscious states? I have devoted much of my
career to bridging the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the physics
of the brain and phenomenal experience. This short book--part
scientific overview, part memoir, part futurist speculation--describes
my search for an empirical explanation for consciousness. I recount
not only the birth of the modern science of consciousness but also the
subterranean motivation for my quest--my instinctual if "romantic"
belief that life is meaningful.
I describe my sixteen years of close collaboration and friendship with
Francis Crick and the gradual emergence of consciousness (once
considered a "fringy" subject) as a legitimate topic for scientific
investigation. I tell stories from the front lines of modern research
into the neurobiology of consciousness as well as my reflections on a
variety of topics, including the distinction between selective
attention and consciousness, the unconscious, how neurons respond to
Jennifer Aniston, the physics and biology of free will, dogs (of
course), Der Ring des Nibelungen, the integrated information
theory of consciousness by Giulio Tononoi, sentient machines, and the loss
of my belief in a personal God.
Confessions is not just about science, however. I am not only
a dispassionate physicist and biologist, but I am also a human being
who enjoys but a few years to make sense of the riddle of my
existence. I've learned over the last years how powerfully my
unconscious inclinations, my beliefs, and my personal strengths and
failings have influenced my life and the pursuit of my life's
work. You'll learn about these as they become relevant to the quest
I'm on - to uncover the roots of consciousness.
- An earlier book is aimed at a more technical audience.
Entitled The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological
Quest outlines a general neurobiological framework
for discovering how consciousness, the subjective mind,
arises out of the flickering interactions among the neurons
of the cerebral cortex and related brain areas. The book is
based on collaborative work between Francis Crick and myself
from 1990 until 2004. If you have questions about our
approach and the way we define terms, check out this glossary.
- I edited other books and authored or co-authored with members
of my laboratory or with other colleagues more than 250 papers
in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and more than 150 book and
conference chapters, and 7 patents by the US Patent Office. You
can download these publications here.
- I write a regular column for Scientific
American mind called Consciousness Redux. In each
essay, I comment on a recent experimental or theoretical development
that is important to help ups understand the neuronal roots of the
conscious mind. Most columns have a decided neurobiological
- Together with my younger brother Andreas,
his company CortexProductions, France. we are working on a
13 minutes long, computer-animated movie travelling through
the visual system, from the retina to deep into cortex (see
one frame from a pilot).
- Of course, I also love to read books. Here is a list of books I've read and commented upon.