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Published on Jul 5, 2016
On Friday, April 29, 2016, Caltech celebrated the launch of Break Through: The Caltech Campaign—an ambitious fundraising initiative that will help secure the Institute’s future. The celebration began with a symposium for the entire campus and JPL community: faculty, students, staff, alumni, family, and friends. A faculty member from each of Caltech’s six academic divisions explored briefly a seminal question and its potential to change the world. Following the symposium, all were invited to an outdoor festival marking the launch of the campaign.
Physicist Michael Roukes presented “Moonshot for Neurotechnology: The Brain Observatory.” He was one of six U.S. scientists from different disciplines who banded together in 2011, developed a collective vision, and convinced the Obama administration of the unprecedented opportunity to create a coordinated, large-scale effort to map brain activity. This effort culminated in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, launched in 2013. Nanotechnology research will play an important part in this effort, because it provides elements ready for assembly into powerful new instruments enabling scientists to observe and understand how brain circuits compute. In this talk, Roukes, who is Caltech’s Robert M. Abbey Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Bioengineering, surveys the technological landscape and challenges of massively parallel mapping of brain activity, and focuses on collaborative efforts toward this goal.