HSP 123H – Neurophysiology for Beginners


Honors: Fall 2014

In Neurophysiology for Beginners we will consider the function of individual nerve cells. Everything that matters to you arises from the activity of neurons, yet few of us have first-hand experience with these important cells. We will discuss their function, come to understand how they work, recognize the importance of their signals, and most importantly study these signals. You will help to construct the equipment and design the experiments that will
allow us to learn more about the neuron.

In Neurophysiology for Beginners we will examine the functions of the cells that make up the nervous system.  The activity of these neurons is responsible for everything that you care about and everything that you do, yet few people have ever heard neurons firing, or contemplated the beauty of their activity.  We’ll get to do this.

To some extent I will be learning along with you, especially when it comes to the neurophysiological equipment that we will use. If you expect a polished course in which everything goes smoothly, go elsewhere.  If you want to experience a professor muddling through the material with you, well, this is the course for you!


Syllabus – Fall 2016

Paper Guidelines (2014) – As yours should look

Paper Guidelines (2014) – As published  

Interpreting my comments on your paper

Lab Report Grading Rubric

Domino video

Ramachandran on Art

Ramachandran on the Brain

Ramachandran interview with Charlie Rose

Ramachandran on Anosagnosia

Cajal’s Contributions

Nova Now: Molaison

Cheesy Re-enactment: Henry Molaison

Scoville & Milner (1957): Original HM Paper

Our Friends at Backyard Brains

Otto Loewi and the Discovery of Neurotransmitters

Serious Discussion of Galvani – Volta debate

Nice (serious) look at Volta and his Pile

Graphic Demonstration of Galvani’s Frog and Volta’s Pile

Slightly Cheesy Look at Galvani – Volta Debate

Cheesiest look at Galvani – Volta Debate

Nernst Simulator

Action Potential Simulator

Football risks

Deep Brain Stimulation


Sensation Demos

Ganglion Cell Demo

Receptive Field Demo

Jill Bolte Taylor – Stroke of Insight

The Chemistry of Fear

LeDoux – Manipulating Memory

“Fearing” – The Amygdaloids

Do witches fly?  Ruining Halloween for you.

Water maze: Acquisition  Retention  Combined

Barnes Maze

Radial Arm maze: Wild Type   Knock-Out

T-Maze (Fruit flies)

Emotion in Fruit Flies

Kinky Insect Sex

Kandel Talks about Memory

Kandel Talks about Art

Earthworm Action Potential Conduction Velocity

Top 10 Neuroscience TED Talks

NPR: DNA transplant

Material below this point is here for my convenience.  It might be useful later on, or we might never address it.

Neurons (Cajal, Golgi, etc.)



Vision – 2012

Jennifer Aniston Cells (Quiroga et al., 2005)

LeVay (1991)

Honey Badgers

Squid Giant Axon – History

Squid Giant Axon – Voltage Clamping

Octopus True Facts

Chromatophores (BYB)


Skinner’s Project Pigeon

Neuromuscular junction

Nonparametric Statistics

WordPress Themes