Dr. Nancy C. Andreasen
Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, director of The MIND Institute, and editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry. She has authored or edited nine books, including the best-selling The Broken Brain: The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry.
She is a leading researcher on schizophrenia, a group of brain disorders that involve hallucinations, delusions, disrupted sense of self, emotional problems, and bizarre behavior. In her early work Andreasen developed a now-standard set of techniques for assessing the symptoms and severity of schizophrenia. Currently she is at the forefront of attempts to come up with a specific neurological explanation for it, as well as ways to mitigate or cure it. Her laboratory uses numerous techniques to study schizophrenia (as well as other major psychoses), including computer science, cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, the study of twins, and psychiatry.
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Dr. David Baltimore
Virologist, Nobel laureate
David Baltimore, Ph.D, is the president of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Early in his career, as an MIT professor, his investigations of viral infection earned him and two colleagues the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology in 1975. That work identified the enzyme "reverse transcriptase," which was key to understanding retroviruses like HIV.
More than a brilliant scientist, Baltimore has also proved to be a talented administrator and policy shaper. In the 1970's he helped fashion national science policy on recombinant DNA research, and in the 1980's he served as founding director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT. Baltimore was also an early advocate of federal AIDS research, and was appointed in 1996 to head the National Institutes of Health AIDS Vaccine Research Committee. He is married to Alice S. Huang, a molecular biologist, who is also a panelist on
Closer to Truth.
Jeanne Bamberger is Professor of Music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she teaches music theory and music cognition. Her interests include learning and the development of music cognition in both children and adults. She was a student of Artur Schnabel and Roger Sessions (prominent pianists and composers) and performed extensively in the US and Europe as piano soloist and in chamber music ensembles. Her most recent books include The Mind Behind the Musical Ear and Developing Musical Intuitions: A Project-Based Introduction to Making and Understanding Music.
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Dr. Roger Blandford
Roger Blandford, Ph.D, is a professor of theoretical astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). His research interests include: black holes, those famous supermassive space objects that gobble up matter and light; "gravitational lensing," which refers to the way light travels in curved paths around stars and galaxies; high-energy waves from space known as gamma ray bursts; the dim class of stars known as white dwarfs; and the structure and evolution of the universe.
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Dr. Joseph E. Bogen
Joseph Bogen, M.D., is a clinical professor of neurological surgery at USC, a visiting professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and an adjunct professor of psychology at UCLA. In 1962, Bogen was part of the first team of neurosurgeons ever to perform a human "commissurotomy" -- severing the connection between the brain's left and right hemispheres. The procedure was effective in treating the patient's severe epilepsy, as hoped, but had some other fascinating unintended consequences. The hemispheres were able to think and behave independently in ways that surprised everybody.
It proved that each hemisphere has a different set of talents: for example, in the average brain, language and logical thought dwell in the left half while spatial and whole-situation awareness are the specialty of the right. Even more astonishing, the different halves often held different personalities, desires and ambitions. The implications for neuropsychology and the philosophy of mind were great, and Bogen has continued to study the lessons from these "split brain" patients for a long time. His research focus is the investigation of consciousness from a neuroscientific point of view.
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David Brin, Ph.D, left his career as an academic physicist when his science fiction novels became successful. His fiction books include Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Earth, and Kiln People. His post apocalyptic novel The Postman was turned into a movie. Brin also wrote an esteemed nonfiction book, The Transparent Society, in which he weighs the various possible tradeoffs in privacy, surveillance and freedom in the electronic century ahead. He frequently travels around the country giving public lectures on these topics, and writes essays on other topics including ecology, the course of modern culture, space and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).
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Dr. Leslie Brothers
Leslie Brothers, M.D., is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine. Based on her research into the neural basis of emotion and social cognition in primates, as well as work with psychiatric patients, she has proposed a new conception of what consciousness is. While the Western philosophic tradition views the conscious mind as an isolated object, something that can be viewed as a thing-in-itself, a thing-apart from its community, Brothers argues that the mind is actually inseparable in all ways that matter from the social context that shapes it. On this view, our emotional life and our sense of self are far more deeply embedded in the social fabric than we are aware. Brothers argues this case and draws out its implications for neuroscience, psychiatry and sociology in her books, Mistaken Identity: The Mind-Brain Problem Reconsidered and Friday's Footprint: How Society Shapes the Human Mind.
Octavia E. Butler
Octavia E. Butler, a science fiction writer, explores issues of gender, race and society in her books. She is the author of several novels, including Parable of the Talents, Parable of the Sower, and Kindred, as well as short stories and essays, and an anthology called Bloodchild: And Other Stories. Butler, of the few female African-American voices in science fiction, has won both of the genre's most prestigious awards, the Hugo and Nebula. She is was also awarded the MacArthur "genius grant" in 1995.
Dr. Alexander Capron
Alexander Capron, Ph.D, is a professor of law and medicine and Co-Director of the Pacific Center for Health Policy an Ethics at USC. He is a member of the national Bioethics Advisory Commission and has held many appointments, including executive director of two major national bioethical commissions and chair of the Biomedical Ethics Advisory Committee of the U.S. Congress. In 2002 he began a two-year leave of absence from USC to serve as Director of Ethics and Health at the World Health Organization in Geneva.
Capron has written numerous books, articles and reviews, and has testified before Congress many times on bioethical issues. He has weighed in on all the important bioethical issues of our day, including the proper criteria for death, genetic engineering, the patenting of genes and organisms, stem cell research, and medical and genetic privacy.
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Dr. Hyla Cass
Hyla Cass, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. Cass, also in private practice, integrates nutritional and natural health techniques with mainstream clinical psychiatry. She is the author of several best-selling books, including All About St. John's Wort and Kava: Nature's Answer To Stress, Anxiety And Insomnia. Her latest book is Natural Highs: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good All the Time. Her areas of focus include anti-aging, women's health, natural hormone therapy, stress reduction, and natural treatments for addiction, anxiety disorders, and depression. Cass has also written book chapters and magazine pieces, is a frequent lecturer and consultant, and has appeared many times on television and radio.
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