Neuroscience Is a Modern Tradition at Amherst College

AMHERST, Mass., Nov. 13, 2006 (AScribe Newswire) — The number of undergraduate college students taking up neuroscience is large and growing, according to the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs (ANDP), which estimates that 5,000 people now graduate every year with a major in this academically demanding and intellectually exciting field. The first recorded use of the word “neuroscience” to mean “comprising the sciences of brain and behavior” was in Nature in 1970, the same year the Society for Neuroscience was founded. With extraordinary speed, Amherst College became the first institution in the United States to offer an undergraduate major in the new science, in 1973, at a time when miracles such as targeted medication for clinical depression or brain implants to alleviate human blindness were the stuff of science fiction. At that time Stephen George, now the Manwell Family Professor in Life Sciences (Biology and Neuroscience), was brought to Amherst as an assistant professor of biology to work in the neuroscience program. “To understand the nervous system,” he said then, “you have to understand its function on all levels.” Thirty years later, he’s still asking these questions: “How does the mind work? How can we explain the behavior of animals and people?…

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