in 2022 neuroscience said farewell to two long-serving professors at the university of oxford - sir colin blakemore & professor oliver braddick.  

original articles: Philipp-Muller et al., 2022 (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), Greer & , Firestein, 2022 (Nature Neuroscience), Molnár & , Parker, 2022 (Current Biology), Molnár & , Hannan, 2022 (Nature Neuroscience), Charman, 2022 (Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics), Perception, 2022 (Perception),

this story was in episode 30 #blakemore #braddick #vision #development

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this year the university of Oxford lost two long-serving professors of vision science, both born in 1944.

Sir Colin Blakemore, vision scientist, neuroscientist & science advocate died in June 2022. his influence is too great to cover here, so here are two anecdotes:

Molnár & Parker in Current Biology note that, as Oxford's youngest ever Waynflete Professor, "When he showed up for his first faculty meeting at Oxford, the chair told him that “student representatives are not required for these items”".

during my PhD, i attended a seminar by a visiting academic who promised to use brain imaging to distinguish between the 'analytic' & 'synthetic' statements described by the eighteenth century German philosopher Immanuel Kant. the small seminar room was packed. the academic presented his brain imaging experiment, which involved people reading long sentences in the synthetic condition & short statements in the analytic condition. comparing synthetic with analytic resulted in greater responses in the middle of the frontal lobe, just in front of the main brain area for movement. from the back of the room, Professor Colin Blakemore said only "Now that's frontal eye fields." & it was left for others to explain later that people need to make more eye movements to read long sentences than short statements. to this day, the neural correlates of Kant's philosophical system remain undiscovered.

a second loss for the University of Oxford is Professor Oliver Braddick, who died in January & whose obituary appeared recently in the journal Perception. a life's work in the development of the visual system, he was head of Experimental Psychology in Oxford. apparently great at pub quizzes, according to his obituary "his son describes him as ‘Google before Google was invented’.


rest in peace