A day with MIT’s Brains on Brains
On May 1, 2017, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences held its biennial symposium, “MIT’s Brains on Brains,” to a packed audience in the Singleton Auditorium. MIT President Rafael Reif introduced the event, stating, “This may be the most influential brain and cognitive science research center in the world.” Throughout the day, guests enjoyed talks on brain disorders, reverse-engineering the mind, and a new non-invasive way to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease (see page 3). At lunch time, attendees sat at faculty-hosted tables around themes such as cognition, autism, intelligence, and memory. Guests enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the issues and ideas from the morning talks. 
 
New to this year’s agenda was a series of lightning talks from graduate students and post docs. These were short, 5-minute presentations moderated by a member of the faculty around four themes: Intelligence and Cognitive Computing; Tools and Technologies; Science of Education; and Disorders of the Mind. The final speaker of the day was Jim Simons ’58, MIT alumnus and philanthropist, who said, “Without a doubt, it is easier to support basic science than to do it.” Simons spoke about his personal philanthropic journey and the decision he and his wife Marilyn made to support discovery-based science. 
 
The symposium can be watched at vimeo.com/mitbcs and will return in the spring of 2019.