Congrats to Columbia University, the ol’ triple-alma-mater, for the receipt of a $200 million gift to create a center devoted to the study of the brain. It’s the largest private gift ever for the creation of a single institution, and will be headed by the esteemed threesome of Richard Axel (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2004), Eric Kandel (Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2000), and Thomas Jessell. I had the fortune of being taught, at various stages of my education and training, by all three men; it’s entirely unsurprising to me that they’d be the ones tapped at leading the effort to better understand the way we think and behave. (And the picture of Eric Kandel that graces his Nobel bio is the perfect representation of him — a happy, old-world guy with a passion for his work!)