Neuroscience's Trailblazer

In an often-quoted description, Richard Dawkins once wrote: "Ramachandran is a latterday Marco Polo, journeying the Silk Road of science to strange and exotic Cathays of the mind."

Vilayanur Subramanian Ramachandran is not a name that rolls off the tongue. Perhaps this is the reason its owner is not as well known by the general public as his fellow neurologist and friend Oliver Sacks. But within the sciences he is seen as one of the great pioneers of our time. In an often-quoted description, Richard Dawkins once wrote: "Ramachandran is a latterday Marco Polo, journeying the Silk Road of science to strange and exotic Cathays of the mind." Such is his reputation for pushing back the boundaries of neuroscience that Newsweek magazine identified him among the "100 most prominent people to watch" in the 21st century.

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Think Again Podcasts
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
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Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

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  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.