Stanford Lecture Notes:
Psychology, Neuroscience, AI

Stanford Oval

I attend about a half dozen lectures a week at Stanford usually at the Stanford Center for Mind, Brain, Computation, and Technology (MBCT) and also at the Stanford Neurosciences Institute (SNI.) (Note: the SNI was recently renamed the Wu Tsai Institute, honoring benefactors Clara Wu Tsai and Joe Tsai.) Stanford's neuroscientists will be moving into the beautiful new building in early 2020. I also attend Stanford lectures in molecular biology and medicine, computer science/AI, and cosmology (at SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator) and at SETI. (I also occasionally lecture at or host local science events.)

I always bike (3,000 miles per year), so I'm easy to recognize. I'm the guy in the front row in the day-glo shirt trying to take down every word (like a court reporter.)

I now upload all my lecture notes to my WebBrain once a year, where they can either be read online or downloaded.

If you need lecture notes on a more recent talk, just email me to bob AT bobblum DOT com.

Look now at my


It contains an archive of hundreds of past lectures and was last updated in November, 2021. (If you're on a cellphone, don't do it now (you need a big screen and fast cpu.)) If you save that link, update here every six months.) (I invariably reorganize it, and upload a new version.)

My notes are organized into dozens of lists. So, for example after you open the WebBrain, click on 2021/2020 Lectures to see my recent favorites (many by National Academy members or by young faculty or trainee superstars).

You'll also find hundreds of lecture notes and articles on machine vision and learning, robotics, and molecular biology including the cutting edge of research on medicine, nutrition, and longevity. (In the 1980s I was a research associate co-principal investigator in the Stanford Computer Science Department. From 1987 to 2007 I was a line emergency doc at Kaiser. I've been back on campus since then as an affiliate of the Center for Mind, Brain, Computation and Technology (MBCT,) trying to pick up where I left off in 1987.)

Before 2014 I put all the lecture links directly on this page. Now they're all in my WebBrain.

If you come back here later in 2021 or 2022, I'll try to post a summary of the recent academic highlights in 2020/2021. Many of the talks listed below were SRO (standing room only! But note, I wrote the preceding before the pandemic years. Campus closed in March, 2020 and just reopened in October, 2021. I'll start reattending lectures live when the US death counts fall below 100 per day.

Superstars (who lectured at Stanford) in 2017 and 2018

Neuroscience and Psychology:
Loren Frank (UCSF) Memory coding in the Hippocampus
Kelsey Martin (UCLA) How are changes in the strength of one synapse communicated to the neuron's nucleus (to alter the neuron's gene expression)?
And other great talks by Dan Yamins, Bruce Yankner, Larry Young, Shaul Druckman,
Sam Gershman, Krishna Shenoy, Bruce McNaughton,  Arnold Kriegstein,  Jennifer Doudna, Doug Eck, Saul Kato,  Bob Knight, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Sergiu Pasca,  Guo-Li Ming,  Asya Rolls,  Jon Shlens,  Adam Hantman,  Nick Melosh and many others: in other words... a cast of thousands (of stars) ! (summaries to follow; but, read my notes on the full talks in my WebBrain above.)

Stanford Superstars 2016

Neuroscience and Psychology:
Ed Boyden (MIT) new tools for brain research; (Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Invent the fishing pole, and you enable all humanity to fish.)
Olaf Sporns (Univ. of Indiana) computational connectomics; (the connectomicist)
Rebecca Saxe (MIT) functional organization of infant cortex
Carol Barnes (U Arizona) aging brains and aging neurons
Adam Carter (NYU) synaptic organization in prefrontal cortex
Adam Cohen (Harvard) optogenetic imaging of single neural axonal dynamics
David Sulzer (Columbia Med) dopaminergic neurons (they're unbelievably different from run-of-the-mill glutamatergic neurons)
Anne Andrews (UCLA) serotonergic neurons; ditto
Nikos Logothetis (Tubingen, MPI) summary of recent research
Eberhard Fetz (U Washington) bidirectional brain-machine interfaces (BMIs)
Paul Nuyujukian (Stanford) BMIs in humans
Jonathan Kao (Stanford thesis defense) improved algorithms for BMIs
Alex Gonzalez (Stanford thesis defense) memory mechanisms based on ECoG
Steven Sloan (Stanford thesis defense) brain balls: cortical neurons and astrocytes growing in vitro
Lennart Mucke (UCSF) Alzheimer's disease
Victor Henderson (Stanford) Parkinson's disease (and in another talk) longevity epidemiology
Jonathan Pillow (Princeton) parietal cortex in decision making
Frank Tong (Vanderbilt) neural orientation mechanisms
Ralf Wessel (WUSTL) neural dynamics of vision
Byron Yu (CMU) BMI neural constraints on learning

Stanford Superstars 2015

These are in the WebBrain.

Stanford Superstars 2014

Among many important events at Stanford in 2014 was the Stanford Neurosciences Institute (SNI) Inaugural Symposium . The videos are online at that link and are all must-viewing. My detailed notes on each talk can be read online or downloaded at the node 2014 AAA Superstar Lectures in the WebBrain.

The development of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, headed by the delightful Prof. William Newsome, is a pivotal event. Plans are underway for the SNI to get its own huge new research facility adjacent to the Med School. By the way, Bill co-directed (with Prof. Cori Bargmann) the Working Group for the Obama Brain Initative. ( My big reporting coup of 2012 was the anticipation of this project two months before it was announced by Pres. Obama in his 2013 State of the Union speech. Bill and I had discussed this proposal at length and then, like a bolt out of the blue, he got a call from NIH Director Francis Collins to direct it.)

Also under 2014 AAA Superstar Lectures you'll find neuroscience talks by Robert Desimone, Mike Shadlen, Dimitri Chiklovski, Jose Carmena, Randy Buckner, Loren Looger, Nelson Spruston, Karel Svoboda, David Ginty and a hundred others including psychologists (George Alvarez, Marty Banks, Maggie Carr Larkin, Kiah Hardcastle, and Tal Yarkoni, to name a few.)

WebBrain also includes standing-room-only 2014 talks in molecular biology (Stan Qi on CRISPR/Cas; Liz Blackburn on telemeres; David Sinclair on Aging; Dirk Trauner on photoswitches; et al.)

My former home department, Computer Science, (I led The RX Project in the CSD from 1976 to 1986) also hosted some wonderful AI/robotics conferences in 2014.

See the node 2014 BAVM Bay Area Vision Meeting for an array of talks on computer vision. Also, see the node 2014 ONR Workshop on Structured Learning for Scene Understanding Also, see the node 2014 SBRS Stanford Berkeley Robotics Symposium for the latest in robotics. The 2014 SWANK Stanford Workshop on AI and Knowledge was another outstanding event covered in detail in WebBrain. (These events were all hosted by CS machine vision, power couple Profs. Fei-fei Li and (husband) Silvio Savarese.)

Toward a ... Science of Consciousness

Another fascinating event that I covered was the (see node) 2014 TSC Consciousness Tucson April 2014 conference. Hosted by the University of Arizona at Tucson, this bienniel conference was particularly good this year. See my notes on talks by Karl Deisseroth (predicting a Nobel for Karl is like predicting the sun will come up tomorrow); Christof Koch (now leading the Allen Brain Institute); Henry Markram (leading the Human Brain Project); David Chalmers (the Hard Problem); Dan Dennett ( There is NO Hard Problem); Bernard Baars (Global Workspace Theory); Giulio Tononi (Integrated Information Theory); and many others.

Great Talks of 2013

Some of my lecture notes for 2013 appear below where they can be down-loaded to your computer. Note: I stopped putting notes here at the start of 2014. Now all notes for 2014 and all previous years are in WebBrain .

Note: To ease my upload/bookkeeping burden, I'm just going to upload my entire WebBrain en masse about once a year. Full text of new talks are in my WebBrain (link above). Here are some of the outstanding 2013Q4 (autumn quarter) talks. ( WebBrain contains hundreds more of these (every talk I've attended.))

Baez, John, Life's Struggle to Survive, UC Riverside, Dec 17 2013

Battista, Christian, Neural Mechanims of Arithmetic, Stanford, Jan 24, 2014

Blackburn, Elizabeth, Telomeres and Aging, UCSF, Jan 27, 2014

Botvinick, Matthew, Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning, Princeton, Dec 4, 2013

Chklovskii, Dimitri, Mitya, Drosophila Optokinetic Circuits, Janelia, Nov 5 2013

Cline, Holly, Visual Plasticity in Xenopus, Scripps, Sept 27 2013

Cullen, Kathleen, Neural Encoding of Vestibular Info, McGill, Dec 12 2013

Evans, Tanya, fMRI of Dyslexia, Dec 6 2013

Ginty David, Microanatomy of Touch Receptors and Neuron s, Harvard, Jan 9 2014

Gottschling , Dan, Organelle Deterioration with Age , U Wash., Seattle, Dec 13 2013

Greene, Michelle, The Scene Gist Paradox, MBC, Oct 14 2013

Guyon, Olivier, Exoplanet, Direct Imaging, SETI, Aug 6 2013

Hasson , Uri, Hierarchical Active Memory, Princeton, Feb 28, 2014

Hoffman, Paul, Semantic Representation, Dementia, Manchester, Nov 1 2013

Khakh , Bal, Astrocyte Calcium Signaling in a Neural Circuit , UCLA, Dec 5 2013

Shakhnarovich, Greg, Cascade Visual Segmentation, TTI Chicago, Nov 4,2013

Sinha, Supriyo TYPHON, Massive Parallel Neural Imaging, Schnitzer,Nov 18,2013

Snavely, Noah, Photosynth Massive Image Synthesis, Cornell, Nov 7 2013

Yasuda , Ryohei, Imaging Single Dendritic Signals , Max Planck Florida, Oct 10 2013

Highlights from 2012-2013

Stanford Center for Mind, Brain, and Computation (MBC) located in Psychology Dept. (Jordan Hall) and directed by Prof. Jay McClelland. SINTN weekly lectures on Neuro-Innovation (Clark Auditorium) also included here.

Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobio. Imaging (CNI): Inaugural Event, Mar 22, 2013 videos An outstanding video collection by some of the world's leading experts in fMRI and cognitive neuroscience. Includes lectures by Marcus Raichle, Leslie Ungerleider, Nancy Kanwisher, and many others.

MBC Symposium: Neural Dynamics: Feb 27, 2013 videos An outstanding Stanford MBC video collection. My notes appear below for the talks by Larry Abbott (includes Surya Ganguli's intro) and by Bill Bialek, and Gyorgy Buzsaki.

Abbott, Larry Spikes to Slow Dynamics Columbia Feb 27 2013

Angelaki, Dora, Bayesian Multisensory Fusion, Baylor, Nov 16, 2012

Bargmann, Cori, Molec Regulation of Feeding, Mating C elegans, Apr 2, 2013

Barth, Alison, Neural Network Construction cFOS-GFP,CMU, Mar 8 2012

Beck, Jeff, Neural Encoding of Uncertainty, Apr 4, 2013

Bialek, Bill, Phase Diagrams, Network Stability, Princeton Feb 27 2013

Bouchard, Kristopher, Cortical Control of Speech, UCSF, Feb 25, 2013

Bradley, Bill , Future of MRI in Neuroradiology, UCSD, Jan 19, 2012

Buzsaki, Gyuri Hippocampal Oscillations, NYU, Feb 27 2013

Callaway, Ed, Vision Circuits, Micro Connectivity, Salk, Nov 5 2012

Callaway, Ed, Rabies Virus Elaboration of Neural Connectivity, Salk, Sep 27 2013

Chevalier, Nicolas, Exec Control in Kids, Feb 13 2013

Clopath, Claudia, Synaptic Plasticity Models, Columbia, Mar 14 2013

Gazzaley, Adam, Top-Down Modulation Deficit in Aging Cognition, May 17 2012

Eichler, Evan, Autism Genetic Mutations, UW, Feb 7 2013

Frank, Loren, Hippocampal Memory Retrieval, Jan 30, 2012

Hanson, Jamie, Adversity and Cognitive Neural Development, Mar 14 2013

Hawthorne, Dan, Learning from Others, Mar 15 2013

Holroyd, Clay, Dopamine Rewards: ERP Event Related, Feb 22 2013

Honey, Christopher, Slow Widespread Neural Comprehension, Jan 30 2013

Izhikevich, Eugene, Neural SPIKES (not firing rates!), Jan 29 2013

Kao, Justine Word Play Ambiguity Resolution, April 6 2012

Krauzlis, Rich Superior Colliculus in Eye Movements, NIH, Nov 8 2012

Kreitzer, Anatol Basal Ganglia Optogenetics, UCSF, Dec 13 2012

Mackey, Sean, PAIN as seen on MRI, April 27, 2012

Macklis, Jeff, Neocortical Projection Neuron Development, Jan 10 2013

Mayford, Mark, Scripps, Genetic Control of Memory, Feb 28 2013

McClure, Sam, Reinforcement Learning, Mar 1 2012

Menon, Vinod, Brain Networks in Children,Jan 19, 2012

Minor, Lloyd, LABYRINTH and Balance, June 6, 2013

Moser, Edvard and May-Britt, Grid Cells, Trondheim, Apr 10, 2013

Piantadosi, Steven, Ambiguity in Language, Word Length, Feb 20 2013

Ramsey, Nick, Motor Behavior in 7T MRI and ECoG, Utrecht, June 7 2013

Ranganath, Charan Recontextualizing the Hippocampus, May 20 2013

Rutt, Brian, High Field 7T MRI, Lucas Center, April 12 2012

Sabes, Philip (Skip), Multisensory Cortical Integration,UCSF, Mar 11 2013

Sanes, Joshua RETINA Embryologic Development Mar 7 2013

Simoncelli, Eero, Visual Metamers, NYU, Jan 17 2013

Smith, Stephen, Array Tomography Connectome, Nov 28 2011

Soska, Kasey Jan 25 2012 Motion and Visual Cognition

Stryker, Michael, Visual Plasticity During Development UCSF May 21, 2012

Sussillo, David Recurrent Neural Network Dynamics Mar 19 2013

Thompson-Schill, Sharon, Beyond Embodiment, Representation, Penn, Nov 7, 2012

Tolias, Andreas, Microcircuitry Neocortex, Baylor Feb 21, 2013

Tsao, Doris, Face Processing Mechanisms, Caltech, Apr 11, 2013

Turner, Brandon, Combined Bayes Model of Cog/ MRI, Baylor Feb 21, 2013

Turner, Glenn, Encoding Odor in Drosophila Mushroom Body, Apr 4 2013

Uddin, Lucinda, DMN vs Task Functional Networks, Nov 9 2012

van den Bos, Wouter Striatum DTI and Rewards, Mar 8, 2013

Wandell, Brian COLOR VISION April 23, 2012

Waskom, Michael Decoding PFC (Prefrontal Cortex) Patterns April 6 2012

Yeatman, Jason, Reading and Arcuate Fasciculus, Feb 15, 2013

Zador, Tony, Auditory Cortical Circuits, Cold Spring Harbor, Feb 2 2012

Zaki, Jamil, , Prosociality Compassion Sources, Jan 24 2012

Zilles, Karl, Neurotransmitter Receptor Distribution, Dusseldorf, Mar 21, 2012

Stanford Center for Cog/Neurobio Imaging (CNI) Symposium
March 22-23, 2012 First Year Inaugural Event (in Clark Center Auditorium)
Note: videos of these outstanding lectures are now open access.

Kanwisher, Nancy, Faces, Places, Bodies, March 22, 2012

Stanford Psychiatry Grand Rounds
Noon, Thursdays in the Li Ka Shing Center, Stanford Med School

Couric, Katie, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Happiness Panel, Oct 18,2013

Eagleman, David, TIME, Oct 4, 2012

Lyubomirsky, Sonja HAPPINESS May 31, 2012

Prather, Aric, SLEEP, Stress, and Immunity, UCSF, Oct 11 2013

Rothbaum, Barbara PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment March 29, 2012

Schatzberg, Alan, Delusions in Major Depression, Jan 12, 2012

Stanford Center for the Explanation of Consciousness (CEC)
located in CSLI Buildings and directed by Prof. Paul Skokowski.

Block, Ned, Access Consciousness, NYU, Dec 7 2012

Chalmers, David, ProtoConsciousness, Panpsychism, Feb 5 2013

Churchland, Paul, Color Vision, UCSD, Jan 13, 2012

Johnston, Mark Mar 17 2012 Qualia are not Mental

Searle, John Consciousness Jan 20, 2012

Sinha, Pawan, Project Prakash, Blind Children's Vision Post-Op Mar 14 2013

Wandell, Brian COLOR VISION April 23, 2012

Stanford Computer Science Department
located in the Gates Bldg (yes, that Gates) in the
Human / Computer Interaction (HCI) series or in the CSL Colloquium EE380 or
in the PAIL series at SAIL.

Bernstein, Michael Crowd Sourcing and HCI, Mar 8 2013

Chau, Polo Data Mining HCI, Georgia Tech, 15 Mar 2013

Kaplan, Jerry, Overview and History of AI, Stanford CSD, May 6, 2013

Lee, Johnny Chung KINECT Microsoft Motion Capture 5 Jan 2011

Lieber, Charles, Nanotechnology Nanowire Arrays, Harvard, 1 Apr 2013

Stamos, Alex, Security Post-Snowden, CSD EE380, Jan 8 2014  

SLAC Stanford Linear Accelerator
Weekly Colloquium: Panofsky Auditorium: Mondays, 4:15PM.

Chaparala, Prasad Mobile SOLAR Alta Devices SLAC , Mar 25 2013

Cui, Yi, Nano Batteries SLAC , Feb 11 2013

Partch, Carrie Circadian Rhythms, UC Santa Cruz, SLAC Mar 18 2013

Molecular Biology
Stanford Medical Center, usually in Li Ka Shing Center or in Clark Auditorium.

Araci, Ismael Emre , Microfluidic VLSI femtoliter assays, June 14 2013

Bargmann, Cori, Molec Regulation of Feeding, Mating C elegans, Apr 2, 2013

Barzilai, Nir, Centenarian Genetics of Human Aging,Jan 30, 2012

Chu, Steve, Nano Light Imaging for Biomed, Applied Phys Colloq, May 21, 2013

Cooper, Kimberly, Vertebrate Limb Development, Harvard Feb 13 2013

Covert, Markus, Whole CELL MODELS Mar 12 2013

de Lange, Titia, TELOMERES Mar 20 2013

Flavell, Richard, Inflammasome, Colonic Microbes, Yale, Jan 24, 2012

Gibson, Dan, de Novo Cell Synthesis, Venter Lab, Feb 1 2013

Gottschling, Dan, Organelle Deterioration with Age, Wash., Seattle, Dec 13 2013

Green, Ed, NEADERTHAL DNA, UC Santa Cruz, June 11 2013

Lieberman Aiden, Erez 3d Folding DNA Genome, Jan 26, 2012

O'Roak, Brain Autism Genetics, Feb 21 2013

QUAKE, Stephen, Genome Applications in Medicine, Stanford CVI, May 28, 2013

Ravichandra, Kodi, MACROPHAGES Eat Good APOPTOTIC Meals,
Univ Virginia, June 5 2013

Sinclair, David, Sirtuins and Aging, Harvard, Mar 8 2013

SMRT Pacific Bioscience, Korlach, Jonas, Nov 12, 2012

Spudich, Jim, Myoglobin Molecular Motors, Jan 17 2012

Wu, Joseph, Pluripotent Stem Cell Cardiac Therapy, CVI, Apr 17 2012

Wu, Sean Cardiac Embryology CVI Mar 19 2013

Winfree, Erik Cell-Free Biochem Circuits CalTech Mar 21 2013

Energy Seminar: Precourt Institute (Stanford)
Nvidia Auditorium, Huang Engineering Center, Mondays, 4:15PM.
Future Seminars are here: video archive of past seminars is here.

Chaparala, Prasad Mobile SOLAR Alta Devices SLAC , Mar 25 2013

Chueh, Will, Battery Energy Storage Optimization, Feb 4 2013

Gur, Ilan Future of Battery Tech, E-ARPA Mar 21 2013
Note: Ilan Gur's talk was at (Xerox) PARC; the video is online.

Senesky, Debbie, Extreme Silicon Carbide Sensors, Feb 25 2013

SETI Institute
Mountain View, Tuesdays at Noon. This is an outstanding cosmology series
that I occasionally attend. Future Seminars and Archive is here.

Baez, John, Life's Struggle to Survive, UC Riverside, Dec 17 2013

Blake, David, Mars Science Lab Curiosity, NASA, Jan 29 2013

Borucki, Bill, Kepler Telescope SETI Exoplanets, Aug 29, 2012

McKay, Chris, Mars Life Exploration, NASA, Nov 19, 2012

Shostak, Seth , Strategies in Search for ET, SETI, May 20, 2013