227-1045-00L  Readings in Neuroinformatics (University of Zurich)

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersW. von der Behrens, R. Hahnloser, S.‑C. Liu, V. Mante
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNo enrolment to this course at ETH Zurich. Book the corresponding module directly at UZH as an incoming student.
UZH Module Code: INI431

Mind the enrolment deadlines at UZH:
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AbstractThirteen major areas of research have been selected, which cover the key concepts that have led to our current ideas of how the nervous system is built and functions. We will read both original papers and explore the conceptual the links between them and discuss the 'sociology' of science, the pursuit of basic science questions over a century of research."
ObjectiveIt is commonplace that scientists rarely cite literature that is older than 10 years and when they do, they usually cite one paper that serves as the representative for a larger body of work that has long since been incorporated anonymously in textbooks. Even worse, many authors have not even read the papers they cite in their own publications. This course, ‘Foundations of Neuroscience’ is one antidote. Thirteen major areas of research have been selected. They cover the key concepts that have led to our current ideas of how the nervous system is built and functions. Unusually, we will explore these areas of research by reading the original publications, instead of reading a digested summary from a textbook or review. By doing this, we will learn how the discoveries were made, what instrumentation was used, how the scientists interpreted their own findings, and how their work, often over many decades and linked together with related findings from many different scientists, generate the current views of mechanism and structure of the nervous system. We will read different original papers and explore the conceptual links between them and discuss the ‘sociology’ of science. We will also explore the personalities of the scientists and the context in which they made their seminal discoveries. Each week , course members will be given original papers to read for homework and they will write a short abstract for each paper. We will then meet weekly with the course leader and an assistant for an hour-or-so long interactive seminar. An intimate knowledge of the papers will be assumed so that the discussion does not center simply on an explication of the contents of the papers. Assessment will be in the form of assignments throughout the semester.
ContentIt is commonplace that scientists rarely cite literature that is older than 10 years and when they do, they usually cite one paper that serves as the representative for a larger body of work that has long since been incorporated anonymously in textbooks. Even worse, many authors have not even read the papers they cite in their own publications. This course, ‘Foundations of Neuroscience’ is one antidote. Thirteen major areas of research have been selected. They cover the key concepts that have led to our current ideas of how the nervous system is built and functions. Unusually, we will explore these areas of research by reading the original publications, instead of reading a digested summary from a textbook or review. By doing this, we will learn how the discoveries were made, what instrumentation was used, how the scientists interpreted their own findings, and how their work, often over many decades and linked together with related findings from many different scientists, generate the current views of mechanism and structure of the nervous system. We will read different original papers and explore the conceptual links between them and discuss the ‘sociology’ of science. We will also explore the personalities of the scientists and the context in which they made their seminal discoveries. Each week , course members will be given original papers to read for homework and they will write a short abstract for each paper. We will then meet weekly with the course leader and an assistant for an hour-or-so long interactive seminar. An intimate knowledge of the papers will be assumed so that the discussion does not center simply on an explication of the contents of the papers. Assessment will be in the form of assignments throughout the semester.
Prerequisites / NoticeRestricted adminission. Only open for students of the MSc program 'Neural Systems and Computation'.
CompetenciesCompetencies
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesfostered
Social CompetenciesCommunicationfostered
Cooperation and Teamworkfostered
Personal CompetenciesCreative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed