October 10, 2012

The Age of Insight

Lecture by Eric Kandel


As part of the Klimt 2012 program of events, Vienna-born American neuroscientist Eric Kandel presents his most recent work, The Age of Insight, at the Secession.

In The Age of Insight, the Nobel Prize winner returns to his native city in order to explore—to quote the subtitle of his book—the unconscious in art, mind, and brain, from Vienna 1900 to the present. In addition to psychoanalysis and the Viennese schools of medical thought, Eric Kandel analyzes the creative output of numerous visual artists, including Gustav Klimt.In his lecture at the Secession, Kandel, who is also an enthusiastic art collector, will talk about the productive dialogue between science and art and explain current cognitive, psychological, and neurobiological insights into perception, memory, emotions, empathy, and creativity.

The lecture is organized by the Secession and the Friends of the Secession.

“… a fascinating meditation on the interplay among art, psychology and brain science. The author, who fled Vienna as a child, has remained captivated by Austrian artists Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele, each of whom was profoundly influenced by Sigmund Freud and by the emerging scientific approach to medicine in their day … [calls] for a new, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the mind, one that combines the humanities with the natural and social sciences.” (Scientific American, March 2012)

Eric Kandel
Eric R. Kandel, M.D., is University Professor at Columbia, Fred Kavli Professor and Director, Kavli Institute for Brain Science and a Senior Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. A graduate of Harvard College and N.Y.U. School of Medicine, Kandel trained in Neurobiology at the NIH and in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He joined the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1974 as the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. At Columbia Kandel organized the neuroscience curriculum. He is an editor of Principles of Neural Science, the standard textbook in the field. Prior to writing The Age of Insight, Eric Kandel wrote a book on the brain for the general public entitled In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, which won both the L.A. Times and U.S. National Academy of Science Awards for best book in Science and Technology in 2008. A documentary film based on that book also entitled In Search of Memory was shown in the US-cinemas in 2008 and is now available on DVD.

Eric Kandel’s research has been concerned with the molecular mechanisms of memory storage in Aplysia and mice. More recently, he has studied animal models in mice of memory disorders and mental illness. Kandel has received twenty honorary degrees, is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences as well as the National Science Academies of Austria, France, Germany and Greece. He has been recognized with the Albert Lasker Award, the Heineken Award of the Netherlands, the Gairdner Award of Canada, the Harvey Prize and the Wolf Prize of Israel, the National Medal of Science USA and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2000.