The Origin of the Mind - The Minimum Neural Network for Perception of Space, Time, and Motion by Katsushi Arisaka (UCLA)

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloqiuim

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)


Guest Speaker:

Katsushi Arisaka (University of California, Los Angeles)

Talk Title:  “The Origin of the Mind - The Minimum Neural Network for Perception of Space, Time, and Motion”


Neural networks arose in the animal kingdom as a means of sensing environmental stimuli and generating proper motion in space-time.  However, a critical issue lies in the fact that sensory neurons only have the capacity to detect temporal variations caused by external stimuli, which contain no inherent spatial information of the external environment. This raises the question of how such a collection of signals in the time domain can be converted into a sufficient understanding of the surrounding space.      

By applying the physical principle of locality and causality, we recently proposed a novel concept that such time-to-space conversion could be effectively achieved by utilizing periodic, rhythmic brain activity, called the Central Pattern Generator (CPG), as a universal clock to synchronize neural networks. This hypothesis has been applied to the nervous system of the nematode C. elegans. A complete map of all of signal propagation among its neurons, the “dynamic functional connectome”, has been successfully built upon the well-established static connectome for the first time.

To investigate such an “Origin of the Mind", in the summer of 2013, we formed an interdisciplinary undergraduate research group: the Elegant Mind Club ( Since then, over 250 club members have conducted numerous experiments towards understanding the behavior and nervous system of C. elegans.  We have constructed ultra-fast 3D optical microscopes, and have begun to observe entire neural networks of freely behaving C. elegans under various stimulations.  In this talk, we present the latest progress on our research, and demonstrate its support of our CPG hypothesis.


For more information, contact Jay Hauser

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Robijn Bruinsma, Prof. Wesley Campbell, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Jay Hauser, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. HongWen Jiang, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. John Miao, Prof. George Morales, Prof. Pietro Musumeci, Prof. Christoph Niemann, Prof. Rene Ong, Prof. James Rosenzweig, Prof. David Saltzberg, Prof. Jean Turner, and Prof. Gary Williams.

1-434 PAB