I very much enjoyed last night’s presidential lecutre. I’ll start with the non-content-related reasons: Bargmann’s delivery had a nice but not overwhelming pace, and the same can be said for her slides: thankfully no information overload, but helpful pointers supporting what she said. She very clearly acknowledged the people inside (and outside) her lab who did the work. I enjoyed the ‘advertisement’ for sharing data and ideas (‘we are doing really complex stuff and we need to help each other out’). And for a neuroscientist, it was funny to hear that ‘genetics is really easy compared to neuroscience’. Though I guess before we knew about DNA and all that, it was also pretty hard, right?
Finally, her work: very impressive. It is amazing how detailed the understanding can become with a ‘simple’ model organism and modern techniques. I don’t want to belittle the simple model system, rather I am a bit jealous! And with that level of detail Bargmann’s lab is also uncovering stuff that I am sure pertains to more complex animals and nervous systems too: how behavioral variability arises from ‘fixed’ circuits; how genetic variability relates to behavioral variability; or that dividing circuits into sensory and motor is silly. Thank you for pushing the boundaries of our understanding how behavior is generated!