|SCIENCE + MUSIC = ADVENTURES into the LABYRINTHS of the BRAIN||
NEUROSCIENCES INSTITUTE in La Jolla, CA
- where world-class SCIENCE intersects with MUSIC
is no other place like this in the world."
The words Dr. Edelman spoke at the Institute's opening in 1995 ring as true today. The Institute is a very special place now as it was then - and in more ways than one. Let's count the ways.
First, the most visible - the architectural revelation that unfolds as one walks eastward or westward from any of several undefined entry points into what is obviously a very thoughtfully designed space.* As the color photos above show--which were recently taken on a busy working day-- the Institute, snugly carved into a hillside slope and quietly hidden from street view, today stands in subdued magnificence, as pristine as on the day of its unveiling. (And you can take our word for it; we were there at the opening.) The elegantly landscaped, sun-drenched central plaza and the trio of buildings encircling it together make up a highly nuanced geometric wonder of concrete, stone and glass. A perfect picture of balance, harmony and serenity - befitting the "scientific monastery" the Institute was designed to be.
On one side, behind a panel of tinted blue glass is the building for experiment; on the other side, jutting out above the rest of complex in cantilevered splendor, the building for theory; and between them, the cube-like centerpiece - the building for community, the auditorium where the Institute's high priests of brain science gather to share their enlightened discoveries among themselves or with guests from the "outside world."
the AUDITORIUM - noted for its superb acoustics which was designed by
the eminent Cyril Harris, who counts the Metropolitan
Opera, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Kennedy Center among his brilliant
achievements. Name another scientific research center in the world that
can match this seemingly perplexing devotion to MUSIC, or which would
purposely showcase the world-acclaimed JULLIARD STRING QUARTET as the
centerpiece of its inaugural celebration as the Institute did.
But be dumbfounded no more! Dr. Edelman is a classically trained
violinist (who briefly considered becoming a concert soloist, but realizing
he lacked the requisite extroverted temperament, turned to medicine
and science instead). He also once chaired a symposium on the
scientific basis of stringed instruments. The promise of an acoustically
superior hall was reportedly the lure for Dr. Edelman's Westward move
to La Jolla from New York (where the Institute was born in the 1980s).
Thus there is a rhyme-and-reason for why the Neurosciences Institute
has, in Cyril Harris' own words, "the
finest small concert hall in the world!"
Third, but by no means the least important - the nature of the research being pursued at the Institute, its reason for being. The focus is the HUMAN BRAIN, about which so little is understood even today relative to the rest of the human anatomy. No small wonder that it is called the "final frontier" of scientific discovery.
Scientists at the Institute conduct experimental and theoretical research at the most basic level in order to gain a greater understanding of how a healthy brain functions. This could eventually shed light on the dysfunctions that cause devastating neurological diseases and reveal insights that could lead to cures or solutions to these problems, as well as other practical applications. But ultimately, what they seek to unravel are the profound mysteries of mind (How do we think? What is memory? How do we feel? etc.), consciousness (What enables man to be conscious that he is conscious?) and human individuality (What in the end makes a human human? What makes each person unique?).
interesting, highly specialized area of research being actively pursued
at the Institute involves MUSIC and the BRAIN, or the neuroscientific
study of music, also sometimes called the scientification of music.
It is a relative new area of study, but already Aniruddh Patel,
Esther J. Burnham Senior Fellow at the Institute, has published a book
on the subject. Entitled
"Music, Language, and the Brain" it has
been widely acclaimed for its "scholarship, clarity and humility."
of the above proves that yes, Dr. Edelman, there is no other place in
the world like the Neurosciences
Mission: To promote MUSIC as a tool for teaching SCIENCE
SCIENCE + MUSIC! = ADVENTURE + FUN!