- The Loom
It’s always great to hear senior scientists talk about the bad old days, when one computer could fill an entire room and no one could say what genes were made of. Eric Kandel of Columbia has been studying memory since the 1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work. These days he’s observing genes switching on and off at the junctions between neurons. But when he started out, he had to content himself with sticking electrodes into crayfish (chosen for their fat neurons). To observe their neurons, scientists would hook up the electrodes to amplifiers and loudspeakers, and the crackle of nerves would fill the room. With hindsight, we can cluck at the primitiveness of it all.