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Mike Gazzaniga ‘61 and ???

Mike Gazzaniga ‘61 was recently in Europe for a Continent-wide speaking tour that culminated in a presentation at the Vatican on cognitive neuroscience’s current understanding of free will. Following the Pontificia Accademia delle Scienze, Mike was greeted by Pope Benedict XVI.

Gazzaniga3.jpg

Gazzaniga2.jpgThe most recent Dartmouth Alumni Magazine contains a lengthy profile of Gazzaniga, with a particular focus on his efforts to improve the legal system’s understanding and use of modern discoveries in cognitive neuroscience.

In 2007 the MacArthur Foundation created a law and neuroscience project; its directors from that date until 2011 were Gazzaniga and another Dartmouth superstar, philosophy professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. Regrettably for the College, Gazzaniga now teaches at UC Santa Barbara, and Sinnott-Armstrong is at Duke.

This space has admired Gazzaniga for a long while; his speech a few years ago at the dinner for the College’s 2011 honorary degree recipients is an elegant summary of the wide-ranging relevance of the liberal arts.

Addendum: The DAM also excerpted a section of Mike’s new book, Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain.

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