5 thoughts on “Charles Gordon Gross

  1. Alex Todorov

    Charlie was a great role model, a friend, and a source of wisdom. It was a privilege to be colleagues with him.

  2. Michael Littman

    This has been a sad few weeks – first we lost Henry Horn, now Charlie. I have such fond memories of great conversations with Charlie. I know him as a careful researcher in primate motor control and as a friend. I had the good fortune to be able to help with a small portion of his research while serving as a member on Michael Graziano’s PhD Committee during the time that I was the SEAS representative to the Neuroscience Program in the 1990’s. A great loss to science and to the Princeton community.

  3. Paul Glimcher

    I have known Charlie for 40 years and will miss him terribly. He was an inspiration to me as a young undergrad at Princeton who went on to a life in science. I never missed an opportunity to be with him, to talk history with him, to listen to him just be goofy. He enriched neuroscience and neuroscientists around the world and I will miss him!

  4. Jonathan C. Horton

    The work by Charlie Gross and his colleagues started half a century ago identifying neurons in the monkey temporal cortex that respond to faces, hands, and other objects opened a new epoch in the field of neuroscience. It is worth remembering that his discoveries were greeted with considerable skepticism, and even ridicule, by some contemporaries. The obituary issued by the Princeton University Office of Communications pays a fine tribute to Charlie, but he would regret the fact that nowhere does it mention the word “monkey”. Instead it describes how a “frustrating series of light stimuli failed to interest his primate subjects”, as if they lost interest and went back to watching television. Unless universities are willing to describe unambiguously how microelectrode recordings in anesthetized monkeys have led to scientific breakthroughs, we will lose the support of the public.

  5. Sam Wang

    Charlie Gross was a foundational figure in neuroscience, both worldwide and at Princeton. He made basic new discoveries that expanded our horizons for how brains represent the world. Whether it was finding single neurons that responded to faces, or showing that adult brains made new neurons, he was a pioneer. He also left behind a Who’s Who of cognitive neuroscience. His former students fill the firmament of our field.

    I came to love him as a friend. He had a spirit of adventure. He wrote beautiful popular essays about the history of how people thought about the mind, from Swedenborgians to looking at art to today.

    Charlie also loved to open student minds, figuratively of course. The first time I encountered him was his guest neuroanatomy lecture in my undergraduate neuroscience class. He brought a trepanning tool, a drill bit-like device for cutting a hole in the head. It was a crazy thing to show and tell. He loved adventures as simple as new foods or as exotic as travel to Antarctica, Bali, or rural China. He had a huge spirit and I will miss him terribly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *