50 Years of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

  • Feature Story

50 Years of Brain and Cognitive Sciences


BCS Communications

On June 3, 2015, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences celebrated its 50th anniversary. Alumni and supporters, alongside current students, faculty, staff, and researchers were welcomed to campus for a three hour brain and cognitive sciences community event featuring exhibits from the past, present, and future of the department’s research.

A committee of department members led by chair BCS Professor Emerita Sue Corkin organized the festivities.  “During the preceding months, we tracked down and invited alumni, staff, faculty, and students who had been part of our community over the years.  It was very important that this celebration represent the brain and cognitive sciences community as a whole,” explained Corkin. “The outpouring of support was tremendous, and BCS staff deserve accolades for contributing ideas and implementing every detail of the successful celebration.”

On left: Professor Emerita Sue Corkin led the committee that planned the celebration.

The evening kicked off with an introduction from department head Jim DiCarlo.  “I was absolutely thrilled to welcome so many department alumni and friends to our celebration,” said DiCarlo, “we had a fantastic turnout from across the MIT campus and the world.”



On right: BCS alumnus Jia Liu PhD ’03 presents department head Jim DiCarlo with a statue commemorating the department’s 50th anniversary.  The statue was gifted on behalf of Beijing Normal University, where Liu is currently department head of psychology.

In celebration of the anniversary, the department commissioned a documentary film “From Mind to Brain: The Story of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT” about the genesis of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT. The film interviewed BCS faculty members from the last 50 years about their experiences in the department.

Guests were also invited to take part in a commemorative 50th anniversary mosaic. Each guest was able to design their own personal tile that will be complied into a large, group artwork and displayed prominently in building 46.

On left: Guests designing mosaic tiles

Unable to attend the celebration in June? Visit bcs50.mit.edu for more information, including the commemorative documentary video, “From Mind to Brain.”