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Day April 23, 2011

Oscar® Winning Neuroscientists

A classic method for earning a quick sawbuck is to bet someone that you can find the word “Wisconsin” on a US $5 bill. You’ll need a magnifying glass, but there it is, around the top of the Lincoln Memorial.

If you’re bored with that bet, or if you just want a change of pace, bet someone you can name two Academy Award winners who have published papers in neuroscience.

Colin Firth and Natalie Herschlag, Neuroscientists (and actors)

As Mind Hacks has already pointed out, both Natalie Portman (neé Hershlag) and Colin Firth (neé Firth) have played a prominent enough role in recent neuroscience research to merit mentions as fifth and third authors, respectively, on neuroscience research papers.

The Kanai et al. paper, on which Firth is an author, has already been covered in this blog. The story of how Firth (and fellow BBC radio host Tom Feilden) came to be co-authors with Kanai and Geraint Rees has been explained in the Neurocritic blog.

Firth originally commissioned Kanai and Rees to scan the brains of two British politicians, one liberal (Labour), one conservative.