A collaboration between researchers at McGill University, UCLA and the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro, to friends) has produced the first photograph of a memory being formed. The image , captured courtesy of a fluorescent tracking protein, shows evidence of proteins forming stronger synaptic connections between nerve cells as a new memory is created.

While this is awesome in principle, the sad fact is that the process makes for a something less than riveting visual experience. I mean, it’s a big step forward in neuroscience and all, I know. But really, it just looks like a green spiderweb with some bubbles within it. Call me difficult to please, but somehow, I found myself wanting more.

Maybe I’m a rank sentimentalist, but I still held out a hope that the creation of memory looked more like a tiny, much harried librarian who lived inside my brain, frantically transcribing my every experience before filing them away in no particular order. Alas, one more naive schoolboy dream is crushed under the unstoppable weight of scientific discovery.

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