Thanksgiving week at Krasnow

The leaves are mostly off the trees as you can see.  It’s been strangely warm and some of the famous DC cherry trees are blooming out of presumed confusion. The Redskins have lost their six straight, this time to the hated Cowboys. And the Congressional Super-comittee seems headed for failure.

Amidst all of this, there is much to be thankful for: the Krasnow Institute is thriving. Our work is consequential, not incremental. Our trainees clearly enjoy doing science. And our faculty continue to amaze me.

George Mason, in contrast to many other research universities, continues to prosper, both as a growing center of excellence in scholarship, but also as a terrific place for learners and teachers alike.

And science writ large seems to be in rude health. From physics to neuroscience, really significant findings are making their way into publication. Last week’s paper in Nature on the reality of the quantum wave function is but an example.

Tomorrow, this blog goes on Holiday in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States. We wish all of our readers the very best and we’ll see you Saturday. Stay tuned…


Tomorrow is the day that, here in the US, we celebrate a holiday called Thanksgiving. Other than the preferred food (turkey which I find sort of bland), it’s a wonderful occasion to silently appreciate all the small and large things that actually are going well. There are many of them, not least, for me, is the pleasure of communicating with readers, new and old, here. Thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to loyal readers

Here at our Wintergreen house, we’re listening to holiday tunes, baking bread and leisurely making our way through yesterday’s Financial Times. It’s time to say thank you to all of my readers, especially those who have contributed their own thoughts from time to time.

It’s also a good time to give a shout-out for collegiality in science. There’s been a lot of sturm and drang recently among both climate scientists and, to some extent, in the computational neuroscience community. Collegiality facilitates collaboration and is essential for trans-disciplinary science to progress (at least until we all become experts in all fields–a while I think).
Happy Thanksgiving!

The view from a distance: Thanksgiving in the mountains

I was up at the crack of dawn this Thanksgiving morning here on the top of Devil’s Knob mountain in the Virginia Blue Ridge–where our Wintergreen house is located. The two dogs wanted to eat and go for their walk. Out the front door I was greeted by the ruby orb of the rising sun creeping above the purple ridges that stretch out seemingly endlessly to the North. These are the old mountains of North America, their rounded eroded tops in stark contrast to the newer mountain ranges in the West.  Yet their restrained beauty still transfixes me.

Looking out at the view, I was struck by the enormity of my distance at that moment from the news on CNN broadcasting events from half a world away where lives are ripped apart as a result of human anger and presumably ideology–an emergent of our human brains.
There is much still to be thankful on this uniquely North American holiday–to be able to lead an institute of fine inquisitive minds at Krasnow has been a continuous pleasure over the past decade. To ponder the deep questions of how biology embeds into this amazing universe that manifests around us, and better yet to do that for a living–that also is a joy.
Happy Thanksgiving,