Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Amygdaloids: neuroscience and rock 'n' roll.

Back in my idyllic childhood days, I liked to imagine odd combinations of people and things. One of my daydreams about my own future had me climbing out of the cockpit of a hypersonic jet fighter after a joyride in the sky, walking into a building next to the tarmac, and there, after doffing my helmet but still wearing my g-suit, sitting at a grand piano and playing a Chopin ├ętude (I did later learn to fly a plane--a decidedly non-hypersonic Cessna--but never learned to play piano). Another of my fantasies was a record album titled Scientists Sing Rock 'n' Roll, which would have cuts like J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, doing "Don't Be Cruel". The latter has come true, in a sense, with the advent of the Amygdaloids. The clip below, made at New York City's 92nd Street Y on April 3 of this year, begins with a talk about human brain anatomy and its implications for how thought and emotion relate (or fail to relate) by Joseph LeDoux, Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at New York University's Center for Neural Science, and a guitarist/vocalist for the Amygdaloids, then follows with the group doing "Memory Pill":



The other members of the group are Nina Galbraith Curley (bass and vocals; PhD candidate in neural science at NYU), Daniela Schiller (drums and vocals; postdoctoral fellow in neural science at NYU), and Tyler Volk (guitar and vocals, with lead vocal on "Memory Pill"; associate professor of biology and science director of the NYU environmental studies program).