A Mind That Unraveled DNA & Chased Consciousness – Facts So Romantic

In his most recent book, Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist, Christof Koch wrote that he has known only one genius: Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule. “In a lifetime of teaching, working and debating with some of the smartest people on the planet, I’ve encountered brilliance and high achievement, but rarely true genius,” writes Koch. “Francis was an intellectual giant, with the clearest and deepest mind of anyone I have ever met.”

During an interview with Koch at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, where he is chief scientific officer, we asked him to expand on his remarks about Crick. In his answers, seen in the video below, Koch described an idea that he and Crick advanced a decade ago: that a thin brain structure called the claustrum may act as “the conductor of the cortical symphony,” integrating information from disparate brain regions. A recent study of an epileptic patient seems to support their idea that the claustrum could be “one of the key places for consciousness to occur.”

Transcript

What made Francis Crick a genius? [0:02]

CK: Well, he had this ability to ask questions, and to look at questions that people…
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