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Has Neuroscience Society Growth Been Too Fast For Its Own Good?

Forty-five years ago David Hubel thought he would become a physicist. That is, until he went to his first international scientific meeting. “I was scared off by the number of people,” recalls Hubel so he switched to a science still in its infancy and far more intimate—a science called neurophysiology, The move proved to be very useful for science—in 1981 Hubel received the Nobel Prize in medicine for his contributions to understanding the organization and functioning of

Elizabeth Pennisi

Forty-five years ago David Hubel thought he would become a physicist. That is, until he went to his first international scientific meeting. “I was scared off by the number of people,” recalls Hubel so he switched to a science still in its infancy and far more intimate—a science called neurophysiology, The move proved to be very useful for science—in 1981 Hubel received the Nobel Prize in medicine for his contributions to understanding the organization and functioning of the brain.

But today Hubel a professor at Harvard, must worry that his field is going through the same explosive growth that drove him away from physics. As president of the 14,000-member Society for Neuroscience, which is holding its 19th annual meeting this week in Phoenix, Hubel is grappling with the possibility that this growth will discourage the next generation of world-class scientists anO unoermine me society s very reason for being. “I...

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