New and Old Techniques in Modern Neuroscience

TOP ROW, L TO R: DAVID PRINCE/STANFORD UNIVERSITY; MARK MILLER/FLICKR; J NEUROSCI, 8:4007-26, 1988, WWW.JNEUROSCI.ORG/CONTENT/8/11/4007.LONG; DAVID PRINCE/STANFORD UNIVERSITY. BOTTOM ROW, L TO R: ED BOYDEN, FEI CHEN, PAUL TILLBERG/MIT; J NEUROSCI, 8:4007-26, 1988, WWW.JNEUROSCI.ORG/CONTENT/8/11/4007.LONG; COURTESY OF GYÖRGY BUZSÁKI/NEW YORK UNIVERSITY In the mid-1980s, György Buzsáki was trying to get inside rats’ heads. Working at the University of California, San Diego, he would anesthetize each animal with ether and hypothermia, cut through its scalp, and drill holes in its skull. Carefully, he’d screw 16 gold-plated stainless steel electrodes into the rat’s brain. When he was done with the surgery, these tiny pieces of metal—just 0.5 mm in diameter—allowed him to measure voltage changes from individual neurons deep in the brain’s folds, all while the rodent was awake and moving around. He…


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