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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Dartmouth professor Peter U. Tse wants to find the ghost in the machine, and as the recently-named recipient of the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he's on his way to doing so.
Tse, of Dartmouth's psychological and brain sciences department, explores the neural basis for human vision. His experiments attempt to clarify what happens to the brain as it constructs the conscious experience, or "narrative," through the neural translation of visual stimuli. He described the question of how the brain interprets and makes sense of motion and form as "maybe the biggest mystery left for science to solve."
Tse is among only 20 recipients of the annual grant, endowed by the German ministry of education. The award provides funding for the recipients to conduct a year of study in Germany working with colleagues in their fields. Candidates must be nominated by a researcher in a German institution and awards are reserved for proven standouts in all fields of science. Tse was nominated by his colleague Dr. Mark W. Greenlee, an American professor of psychology at the Universität Regensburg in Germany.
Tse plans to use his award to work with Greenlee in Regensburg during his the 2005-06 academic year, when he will be on a junior faculty sabbatical. Tse and Greenlee have collaborated previously and Tse said he is excited to pursue his research with Greenlee. Their work, he explained, intersects with some of s oldest questions raised by philosophy about the connection between mind and body, but where philosophy leaves off, Tse hopes brain sciences will pick up and supply the answers.
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Carol L. Folt applauded the Humboldt Foundation's decision to award Tse, saying, "It is wonderful to see Peter Tse receive this recognition for his innovative scholarship. This prestigious award underscores his intellectual contributions to the Dartmouth community."
Tse expects to leave for Regensburg in early October where he will spend nine months. Traveling with him will be his family, including two daughters and a son who, he says, will have the advantage of learning German while their brains are still malleable enough to absorb a second language.
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