Neurobiology of Vision

The Neurobiology of Vision at the MBL

ALL men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else.

In the first lines of his book Metaphysics, Aristotle argues that we love the sense of vision most of all. Researchers at the MBL have been no exception to this, and have made monumental contibutions to our understanding of the sense. This exhibit focouses on the special contributions to vision sciences made by MBL scientists, in three parts. First, we will visit the work of Selig Hecht and his student, Nobel Prize winner, George Wald, and the photochemical theories of color vision he developed working summer at the MBL. In the scond section, we explore the the physiology of vision according to Haldan "Keffer" Hartline, another Nobel Prize winner. In the final section, we will move towards ethology of vision at the MBL, looking at the work of Roger Hanlon.

In each section of the exhibit the author has made no attempt to give an exhaustive biographical or scientific treatment. Rather an attempt was made to introduce the reader to the biographical and intellectual history in an approachable way. Interested parties would do well to read the primary sources referenced by each section for the juicy details.