Sam Wang is an associate professor, Department of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.
Wang grew up in California and studied physics at the California Institute of Technology. Seeking his Ph.D. at Stanford University, he switched to neuroscience. He has worked at Duke University as a postdoctoral fellow and aided political leaders as a Congressional Science Fellow. After completing his postdoctoral studies, he spent two years at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., where he learned to use pulsed lasers to study brain signaling before coming to Princeton.
Wang, who has published more than 40 articles on the brain in leading scientific journals. His educational reach extends past the laboratory and classroom in his books, popular articles and efforts to convey neuroscience to interested nonscientists.
Sam Wang: If children are exposed to two languages before their first birthday, this has unanticipated benefits. You can measure them in the laboratories when you bring these babies in. They are better able to, for instance, resolve conflict cues. They are better able to unlearn a rule that they learned. So for instance, if they learn that pulling on a string leads to a mobile moving or something else that they like, if the rule suddenly changes, they’re more rapidly able to resolve that conflict and learn the new rule.
A good half the time, I’m doing what I want to do, which is very rewarding. It’s like play.