When I was a kid I used to take things apart. I took apart my sneakers once. I ended up cutting my hand and I woke my parents up at 6:00 in the morning and they saw my hand bleeding and they were concerned about that. But I was always interested in understanding how things worked in detail.
So how does the brain remember things? That's really what I'm trying to study in my research. My name is Joshua Jacobs. I am an associate professor in the bioengineering department at Columbia University. The challenge that I encounter every day in my life now is to explain your work in a way that can make sense more broadly to other people as well. I had practice in that when I was 17 and it was super valuable. I was a finalist in the 1997 talent search. So there I was a senior in high school, I remember that challenge very clearly of pointing to the pictures of my slides and I'm trying to explain my work to people. And I didn't know at the time how much that would be relevant for what I do every day, going forward 20 years. I feel really fortunate to be a scientist. I get to spend my time trying to understand something, the human brain, that's really important to a lot of people.