Brainy ambition: Connecting this and that, and readability

There’s new hope, in one quarter, about understanding the human brain. Ian Sample reports in the Guardian:

Quest for the connectome: scientists investigate ways of mapping the brain

Researchers have a goal so ambitious it is almost unthinkable – learning how all 85bn neurons in the human brain are wired up

A human connectome could reveal so much more. In common with many other neuroscientists, Lichtman believes that the brain’s wiring holds the answers to some of our greatest questions. “All the normal functions of the brain, the storage of information about the world, our memories, the way we perceive the world, the behaviours we learn, are all probably encoded in connectivity,” he said.

“Is it readable? Absolutely. There was a time when people wondered how would we ever decode the genome. That turned out to be a very simple code. The brain is complicated, but there’s no magic here. What the brain does is built into the wiring.”

Readability is thought to be important.

Eric Lander, one of the leaders in the successful effort to map and sequence the entire human genome, looked back on that project, and (at the 2003 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony) summed it all up in seven words:

Genome: Bought the book; hard to read.