Vilayanur S Ramachandran: Marco Polo of brain research

Dr Vilayanur S Ramachandran is a brain researcher and the director of the Center for Brain and Cognition as well as professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, San Diego.

It is not for nothing that Oxford don Richard Dawkins calls Ramachandran the ‘Marco Polo of brain research’ and another dubs him the ‘Sherlock Holmes of neuroscience’. The Newsweek magazine has already named him a member of its ‘Century Club’ — a hundred people to watch in the 21st century.

His work with patients with bizarre neurological disorders also sheds light on the complicated architecture of the brain. It finds answers to questions such as ‘why do we laugh or become depressed?’ and ‘how do we make decisions, deceive ourselves or dream?’.

A passionate Indologist, Ramachandran received a doctorate degree from Trinity College, Cambridge, after an MD from Chennai’s Stanley Medical College in 1974.

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