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.
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.)
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
These are in the WebBrain.
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.
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.))
Blackburn, Elizabeth, Telomeres and Aging, UCSF, Jan 27, 2014
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
Greene, Michelle, The Scene Gist Paradox, MBC, Oct 14 2013
Guyon, Olivier, Exoplanet, Direct Imaging, SETI, Aug 6 2013
Hoffman, Paul, Semantic Representation, Dementia, Manchester, Nov 1 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
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.
Stanford Center for the Explanation of Consciousness (CEC)
located in CSLI Buildings and directed by Prof. Paul Skokowski.
SLAC Stanford Linear Accelerator
Weekly Colloquium: Panofsky Auditorium: Mondays, 4:15PM.
Stanford Medical Center, usually in Li Ka Shing Center or in Clark Auditorium.
Gur, Ilan Future of Battery Tech, E-ARPA Mar 21 2013
Note: Ilan Gur's talk was at (Xerox) PARC; the video is online.
Mountain View, Tuesdays at Noon. This is an outstanding cosmology series
that I occasionally attend. Future Seminars and Archive is here.