From the molecular biology of a single neuron to the breathtakingly complex circuitry of the entire human nervous system, our understanding of the brain and how it works has undergone radical changes over the past century. These advances have brought us tantalizingly closer to genuinely mechanistic and scientifically rigorous explanations of how the brain’s roughly 100 billion neurons, interacting through trillions of synaptic connections, function both as single units and as larger ensembles. The professional field of neuroscience, in keeping pace with these important scientific developments, has dramatically reshaped the organization of biological sciences across the globe over the last 50 years.
From its founding moment in 1969 to the present, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has played a critical role in creating this brave new neuroscientific world. In this essay, we explore the Society’s work and influence through 1995.