Virtual Event: Karl Deisseroth
A Story of Human Emotions
in conversation with CATHERINE DULAC
June 21, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome KARL DEISSEROTH—the D. H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University—for a discussion of his book Projections: A Story of Human Emotions. He will be joined in conversation by CATHERINE DULAC, the Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Lee and Ezpeleta Professor of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Projections on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
Karl Deisseroth has spent his life pursuing truths about the human mind, both as a renowned clinical psychiatrist and as a researcher creating and developing the revolutionary field of optogenetics, which uses light to help decipher the brain’s workings. In Projections, he combines his knowledge of the brain’s inner circuitry with a deep empathy for his patients to examine what mental illness reveals about the human mind and the origin of human feelings—how the broken can illuminate the unbroken.
Through cutting-edge research and gripping case studies from Deisseroth’s own patients, Projections tells a larger story about the material origins of human emotion, bridging the gap between the ancient circuits of our brain and the poignant moments of suffering in our daily lives. The stories of Deisseroth’s patients are rich with humanity and shine an unprecedented light on the self—and the ways in which it can break down. A young woman with an eating disorder reveals how the mind can rebel against the brain’s most primitive drives of hunger and thirst; an older man, smothered into silence by depression and dementia, shows how humans evolved to feel not only joy but also its absence; and a lonely Uighur woman far from her homeland teaches both the importance—and challenges—of deep social bonds.
Illuminating, literary, and essential, Projections is a revelatory, immensely powerful work. It transforms our understanding not only of the brain but of ourselves as social beings—giving vivid illustrations through science and resonant human stories of our yearning for connection and meaning.
Praise for Projections
“Karl Deisseroth is already known around the world as a groundbreaking scientist who has pioneered dazzling new techniques for investigating the brain. In this enthralling masterpiece of a book, he demonstrates that he is also a perceptive psychiatrist, as well as a spellbinding writer who beautifully connects the inner feelings within all human beings to deep insights from modern psychiatry and neuroscience.”—Robert Lefkowitz, Nobel Laureate
“I find myself at a loss for how to describe this remarkable work. Just as Karl Deisseroth, through his laboratory, has reimagined and literally redefined how we view the human brain, he has reimagined and redefined what literary nonfiction can be, with great elegance. For all of us who write about science for the public, this will be a tough act to follow. It’s poetic, mind-stretching, and through it all, deeply human.” —Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind
“We are living during a revolution in our understanding of the human brain, and Karl Deisseroth has been at the forefront of these advances. This magisterial work, Projections, shows that not only is he one of our leading scientists, but also a gifted writer and storyteller. With precise yet luminous prose, he merges stories of cutting-edge neuroscience with a deep reverence for his patients’ humanity.” —Neil Shubin, author of Some Assembly Required
The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here.
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