39 min

Mark Solms Private Passions

    • Music

Mark Solms is a neuroscientist who has spent his whole career investigating the mysteries of consciousness. His research throws light on some of the most difficult questions of all: how does the mind connect to the body? Why does it feel like something to be you? Born in Namibia and educated in South Africa, he came to Britain in his late twenties to avoid military service under the apartheid regime. He made his name with research into what happens in the brain when we’re dreaming; then he startled his scientific colleagues by training as a psychoanalyst, something which, he says, “put me at odds with the rest of my field”. He’s now very unusual in holding eminent positions within both psychoanalysis and scientific research. He’s the author of six books – his latest is "The Hidden Spring" – and he divides his time between London and Cape Town, where he also pursues his other career... as a wine-maker.

In conversation with Michael Berkeley, Mark Solms reveals the traumatic childhood event which made him determined to become a doctor, when his brother jumped off a roof and suffered a major brain injury. He discusses the latest research on dreams, and how working with brain-damaged people can teach us about the nature of consciousness. And he tells the story of how he tried to rescue his family vineyard from the wider historical trauma of the apartheid past.

Mark chooses music which he hopes will illuminate the nature of consciousness itself: Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata, Bach, Ligeti, Chopin, and Talking Heads.

Mark Solms is a neuroscientist who has spent his whole career investigating the mysteries of consciousness. His research throws light on some of the most difficult questions of all: how does the mind connect to the body? Why does it feel like something to be you? Born in Namibia and educated in South Africa, he came to Britain in his late twenties to avoid military service under the apartheid regime. He made his name with research into what happens in the brain when we’re dreaming; then he startled his scientific colleagues by training as a psychoanalyst, something which, he says, “put me at odds with the rest of my field”. He’s now very unusual in holding eminent positions within both psychoanalysis and scientific research. He’s the author of six books – his latest is "The Hidden Spring" – and he divides his time between London and Cape Town, where he also pursues his other career... as a wine-maker.

In conversation with Michael Berkeley, Mark Solms reveals the traumatic childhood event which made him determined to become a doctor, when his brother jumped off a roof and suffered a major brain injury. He discusses the latest research on dreams, and how working with brain-damaged people can teach us about the nature of consciousness. And he tells the story of how he tried to rescue his family vineyard from the wider historical trauma of the apartheid past.

Mark chooses music which he hopes will illuminate the nature of consciousness itself: Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata, Bach, Ligeti, Chopin, and Talking Heads.

39 min

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