Neuroscientists aren’t just nerds! Many neuroscientists have different backgrounds whether they started their career in that field or not. Read the article below to find out more on these two neuroscientists.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness… One finished his career in neuroscience, the other started his career there…
Neuroscience is supposed to be for “geeks”. Their synapses fire simply over the thought of neurotransmitters, and their careers usually stay within the realm of neurosurgery, neurology or bench research in laboratories. Most “lay” people probably don’t think they’re otherwise interesting people. However, two 20th century neuroscientists have impacted our society outside of the field, with the latter’s work being part of a celebration this month.
Sir Roger Bannister is best known for being the first man to ever run the sub-4-minute mile. Need a gauge of how fast that is… the fastest marathon runners of all time pace above a 4 ½ minute mile… On May 06, 1954, Bannister finished the previously unachievable task at 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. Not bad, considering he had minimal training and was also studying to be a physician. In 1954, he retired from athletics to spend the next 40 years practicing neurology. Since, over 1,400 athletes have broken the 4-minute barriers, which now is the standard for middle distance runners. However, these descendent athletes weren’t really running as a “hobby”, like Bannister.
Another is Michael Wadleigh. Although probably less known than Bannister, Wadleigh dropped out of Columbia University of Physicians and Surgeons in 1966, where he was studying to become a neurologist, to become an up-and-coming indie film producer. He was documenting Martin Luther King, Jr, Bobby Kennedy, George McGovern and the Nixon campaign, when in August 1969, Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld inked a deal with him to cover a little concert in upstate New York. Only 50,000 people were expected to attend. Prior to this, rock music documentation wasn’t profitable or an interest of big movie studios. However we all know by the 400,000 who showed up that this was a concert to remember and chronicle. This past weekend marked the 50th anniversary of that event, Woodstock. Wadleigh directed the documentary film, which was edited by a young Martin Scorsese and released in 1970. Woodstock grossed $50 million in the United States, while is production budget was $600k. Roger Ebert added it to his “Great Movies” list in 2005. Without the movie Woodstock, many of us wouldn’t have the pictorial of that famous event.