Kavliforelesning i Trondheim

The making, keeping and losing of memory

Studentersamfundet, Elgeseter gate 1,Trondheim

Foredraget er åpent for alle interesserte og inngår som en del av Kavlipris arrangementene på NTNU 5. og 6. september.


Memory is fundamental to human life. Qualitatively distinct types of memory enable us:

  • to change our behaviour in response to experience,
  • to acquire and use a repository of knowledge,
  • to recollect events from the past, and
  • to plan for the future.

The use of memory is changing, with a great deal of human knowledge now externalized and then sought on-demand through use of search engines on the web. Nonetheless, the loss of memory remains greatly feared. The inability to recollect the events of our life can develop from a minor irritation to a condition that undermines normal existence.

Given its central role in cognition, a "Grand Challenge" for neuroscience is to understand the neural mechanisms of the capacity to encode, store and retrieve information. This is our scientific goal. Such work also offers the prospect of applications in the domain of education and medicine.

Much educational practice is necessarily conservative and based on long established practices that seem to work. But discoveries in neuroscience ranging from critical periods in early development through to mental schemas raise questions about the optimum manner in which to organise effective education. Similarly, our developing understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory should guide us towards effective therapies to ameliorate
its loss.

Richard G M Morris, D.Phil., CBE, FRS
Royal Society / Wolfson Professor of Neuroscience, The University of Edinburgh