Dr. Robert Renden is a neurophysiologist and conducted research at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR, USA. He has been a Humboldt Research Fellow at Heidelberg University since 2007.
By Robert Renden
What is the most important question to be solved in the future:
by your discipline? The most important question is a unified understanding of the link between microscopic and macroscopic functions in the brain. We still have only a limited understanding of the neural codes used, as well as the potential transformations that information may undergo as it is passed between different regions of the brain. Once this ‘code’ is deciphered, real insight into our condition will emerge.
by research in general? The collection and redistribution of pertinent information will continue to be a major challenge which will continue to affect all research efforts.
Which ground-breaking invention do you hope will be made within the next ten years? I would like to see the development of an inexpensive, renewable, complete and safe source of food, which can be produced quickly, and distributed easily.
Which ground-breaking invention do you fear could be made within the next ten years? Efficient and inexpensive cloning of humans. This seems science-fiction stuff, but will likely be feasible in the near future, and will be certain to open a new world of ethical, identity, and judicial problems.
Which problem of the future cannot be solved by research? Personal selfishness, ego and gluttony. These characteristics have made us a successful species and are part of self-preservation. However, they have repeatedly been responsible for the downfall of major civilizations. I think it is a necessary detriment we will always have to deal with.
Please complete the sentence: In the future, the world will be different from today because … we will run out of a ready supply of petroleum, coal, and other non-renewable resources. Hopefully, other sources of energy production will be developed to the point where they support the current level of energy use.
What is your favourite piece of Science Fiction? I am not a connoisseur of science fiction, but enjoy any science fiction movie with enough plausible science to permit a willing suspension of disbelief: action scenes aid in this illusion, obviously.
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