Nansen's Doctorate and the Neuron Doctrine - 130th Anniversary Symposium
The symposium is open to all
Fridtjof Nansen was the first important and internationally known Norwegian scientist to study the brain. He was at the forefront of research at his time. Nansen's doctoral thesis, "The structure and combination of the histological elements of the central nervous system", formulated for the first time the idea later known as the Neuron Doctrine (that the nervous system consists of separate nerve cells rather than a continuum of tubes), on which subsequent brain research is based. Nansen also was the first to state the significance of the neuropil (the "dotted substance (the interlacing of nervous fibrillæ)" between the nerve cell bodies) as the site of nervous activity and communication underlying consciousness and intelligence.
The 130th anniversary symposium is sponsored by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) History of Neuroscience Committee and organized by Linda H Bergersen and Jon Storm-Mathisen under the auspices of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Nansen's dissertation day was 28th April 1888, but for practical reasons the symposium is on May 3rd , when the Academy has its Annual Meeting in the evening. The venue is the University's Gamle Festsal, where Nansen's dissertation took place 130 years ago.
09:30 Coffee, pastries, refreshments, mingling in the antechamber (food and beverage not allowed into Gamle Festsal)
09:50 Opening by the Academy President, Ole Sejersted
09:55 Introduction of speakers by Linda H Bergersen
10:00 Ortwin Bock (Cape Town): Historical lecture - "Nansen and the Neuron Doctrine"
10:40 Questions, moderated by Jon Storm-Mathisen
10:45 David Attwell (London): Neuroscientific lecture - "Energy expenditure for thinking"
11:25 Questions, remarks
11:30 End of symposium