NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Brain dynamics the subject of Gardiner Lecture

Walter J. Freeman will be discussing the way in which the mind and consciousness come to exist in the brain at this year's Gardiner Lecture at New Mexico State University.

Walter Freeman to speak about brain dynamics at Gardiner Lecture. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

, of the University of California at Berkeley, has published several popular books, including his recent "How Brains Make up their Minds" and "Mass Action in the Nervous System." His discoveries are widely lauded in the field of neuroscience.

The public is invited to attend his lecture, "Perception is a process of creative self-renewal," at 6 p.m. March 17 in the auditorium of the Physical Science Laboratory building on the NMSU main campus.

"Neurodynamics is the study of how neurons firing in the brain relate to the mind, thinking and consciousness," said Jim Kroger, assistant professor of psychology at NMSU. "For decades, people have been recording neurons firing and the electrical fields they create, but that is so far removed from what mind is that it has often been difficult to see any connection."

"Dr. Freeman's research has revealed the nature of the complex patterns in brain activity, and he has been able to relate it to operation of the mind," Kroger said. "Ironically, a major component of these advances was understanding how chaos plays a role in allowing patterns to develop in brain activity. Dr. Freeman's talk will focus on how chaos permits intentionality to exist in a world with unlimited complexity, and how the resonance of patterns of neural activity underlies human experiences including falling in love, organized sports, and religious conversions."

Freeman has taught brain science at the University of California at Berkeley since 1959 and is now a professor of the UC Berkeley Graduate School. He studied electronics in the U.S. Navy in WWII, physics and mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, medicine at Yale, internal medicine at Johns Hopkins, and neuropsychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles.

He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health in 1990, and a Pioneer Award from the Neural Networks Council in 1992. He was president of the International Neural Network Society in 1994. He has published more than 400 articles and five books on various aspects of brain function.

This year's Gardiner Lecture is a collaborative effort by NMSU's Department of Physics, which has an endowment that provides for the lecture series now in its 40th year, and the Department of Psychology.

The PSL building, where the lecture will be held, is located on Stewart Street between Espina Street and Sweet Avenue.

The public session is but part of a two-day event at NMSU, said physics department head Gary Kyle. Freeman also will speak at a joint colloquium of students and faculty of both the physics and the psychology departments. It will be at 3 p.m. Friday, March 18, in Room 230 of Gardiner Hall. The topic for that session is "Metastability, instability and state transition in neocortex.

For information on Freeman or this event, call James Kroger, assistant professor of psychology, at (505) 646-2243.