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The Forum to present renowned brain researcher V.S. Ramachandran Feb. 29

February 17, 2012
 Dr. Ramachandran
Dr. V.S. Ramachandran
EAU CLAIRE — The Forum will present celebrated brain researcher Dr. V.S. Ramachandran Wednesday, Feb. 29, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His lecture, titled "The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human," will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.

An adjunct professor of biology at the Salk Institute, Vilayanur S. Ramachandran directs the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego, where he is a distinguished professor in the psychology department and neurosciences program. Time magazine named him one of 2011's "100 Most Influential People in the World."

Ramachandran is known as a storyteller who is able to concretely and simply describe the most complicated inner workings of the brain. He is fascinated by patients who have unusual abilities or defects in the way they perceive the world. These include such puzzling phenomena as the phantom pain experienced in a missing limb, the inability to recognize a familiar face following a stroke, and the belief that one is actually dead. Ramachandran investigated many of these strange cases in his acclaimed book, "Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind" (1998), which was translated into nine languages. In 2001, Ramachandran was the subject of a one-hour episode of PBS's "Nova," titled "Secrets of the Mind."

Evolutionary biologist Dr. Richard Dawkins, who himself once spoke on The Forum series, has called Ramachandran "the Marco Polo of neuroscience."

Born in Madras State (Tamil Nadu) in India, Ramachandran initially trained as a physician. He subsequently earned a doctorate in neuroscience and experimental psychology from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge in England. His early work was on visual perception but he is best known for his experiments in behavioral neurology which, despite their apparent simplicity, have had a profound impact on the way we think about the brain. Ramachandran's inspired medical detective work has pushed the boundaries of medicine's last great frontier, the human mind, yielding new and provocative insights into language, creativity and consciousness.

The basis for Ramachandran's Forum address is his latest New York Times bestseller, "The Tell-Tale Brain" (2011).

"Brain science has advanced at an astonishing pace over the past 15 years, lending fresh perspectives on — well, just about everything," Ramachandran has written. "As heady as our progress has been, we need to stay completely honest with ourselves and acknowledge that we have only discovered a tiny fraction of what there is to know about the human brain. But the modest amount that we have discovered makes for a story more exciting than any Sherlock Holmes novel."

Established in 1942, The Forum maintains a tradition of being one of the longest continuous lecture series in the United States. A typical Forum includes a 60-minute lecture, a 30-minute question-and-answer session and an open reception. The program will be signed for the deaf and hard of hearing. Assistive listening devices and large print programs also are available upon request.

Tickets are $8 for the public; $6 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff; and $4 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Student tickets are half price, $2, until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students must pay the full student ticket price.

Tickets are available at the Service Center counter in the east lobby of Davies Center and also will be sold at the door.

Patrons also may charge their tickets to Discover, MasterCard or Visa when they purchase online or order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all online and telephone charge orders.

Wisconsin Public Radio, Community Television and WHYS Radio have contributed generous promotional support for The Forum. The Forum is also funded in part by Visit Eau Claire ... The Unexpected Wisconsin.

Funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire, The Forum is administered by the Activities, Involvement, and Leadership office of the University Centers.

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JS/DW

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