William H. Calvin
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copyright ©1998

William H. Calvin
A short memoir of
Arthur A. Ward, Jr.,

People are always commenting that I seem to have a lot of interests outside the narrow area of cellular neurophysiology in which I was trained, and I sometimes tell them that it's all Arthur's fault. Well, maybe not the interest in abrupt climate change that's in my Atlantic Monthly article, but Arthur sure did stimulate the interests that you see in my books, all that broad take on how the brain works and how scientists ought to approach such problems. He hired me in 1966, straight out of my Ph.D. in neurophysiology, and I found myself plunged into a group of people with a far broader conception of the brain than I was used to. Those late afternoons in the coffee room exploring all sorts of brain, behavior, and medical topics were a superb postdoctoral education for me. Arthur was one of the 1960s founders of the interdisciplinary effort that later became known as neuroscience, one of the first people to see that brain research had to transcend departmental boundaries -- and he was one of the first to do something about it. From Arthur, I got a valuable historical perspective; not only had he seen a lot of progress in technique, but he'd seen sophisticated reconceptualizations of crude beginnings in many areas, and he always conveyed the hope that we could do it again, if we just managed to look at the problem in the right way. I miss having him to talk with, but I can often imagine what he'd say about something.

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