Suzana Herculano-Houzel

I’m good, thanks.

Just heard this proposed Best Answer to the Genie question (make a wish, and it can’t be for infinite wishes): “I want to know the future”. I didn’t have to think twice to protest. I think that would be the SUCKIEST, most disheartening thing EVER. I don’t want to know that my efforts to do…...

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Why Aspies look at mouths

One of the common core traits of autism is atypical gaze direction during social interactions. In some, it is the looking away from the other person’s eyes during conversation. In others, it is quite the opposite: a fixed, sustained stare at the person’s eyes. Personally, I identify as the latter. I am fascinated by people,…...

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Travel Diaries – I’m the tourist attraction!

It wasn’t even seven o’clock when Bruno and I arrived in the village of Mahabalipuram (Bruno, being Bruno, had to be dragged out of bed by phone at 5:25, after confirming to our hostess ten times, at 11 the night before, that yes, he was sure we wanted to be picked up at 5:30 to…...

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Why brain soup?

I’ve been for 20 years now in the business of collecting brains from different species and turning them into soup to find out what they are made of – how many neurons, how many non-neuronal cells, and soon now how many of the latter are vasculature. Why? The short practical question is “because we didn’t…...

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Some have more neurons, others have fewer: Where to draw the line?

I just received an email from somebody who was concerned about how my research on numbers of neurons in cats and dogs (and so many other species…) has been portrayed in the media. Her points: so many reports of “sorry, cats, you’re dumb” might encourage people who mistreat and abuse their pets; along the same…...

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Stream of thought

I catch the subway at Penn Station, NY, to visit a neuroscientist friend before heading back home to Brazil, my hands occupied trying to keep the suitcases upright, my head distracted, floating from one loose thought to the next – when I notice the dark blue tiles on the wall of a station: 59th street…....

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An evolutionary study of SfN meeting attendance

“25 year membership pins”, read the box behind the counter of the SfN booth where I was updating the information on the current president of the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience (me!). I did some quick math: I should merit one of those pins next year, I believe. It’s been interesting to…...

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Do you really want to be a scientist?

(Note: original text republished in full, without any changes.  Unfortunately, all the values are still current 10 years later) Let’s make the necessary caveats first, before the police on duty come and tell me that I’m doing a disservice to Brazilian science. Of course I’d like to see more young people become scientists, and I…...

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My kitchen tends toward maximal entropy

Kitchen Entropy

My favorite definition of life is a system that, thanks to metabolism (cycles of transfer of energy and matter) and self-organization, is capable of keeping itself at a dynamic equilibrium away from the ultimate equilibrium: maximal entropy, or total disorder. My kitchen, like everything else in life, also tends inexorably towards maximal entropy – and…...

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I’ve seen my own brain!

seen my own brain

…and it is gorgeous, with all the gyri and sulci it’s supposed to have! It has a callosum, a caudate, ventricles (a bit on the biggish side, but I won’t complain) and a lovely, text-book like brainstem. There’s my hippocampus, next to the inferior horn of the lateral ventricules, right where I tell my students…...

This content is for Crash Course in Neuroscience + The Neurocientist on Call and The Neurocientist on Call members only.
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