Christian Machens is a theoretical neuroscientist originally hailing from Germany. After studying physics in Tübingen, New York, and Berlin, he became fascinated by the possibility to apply concepts and tools from physics to the study of the brain. Ever since he has been working on the question of how the millions of neurons inside the brain coordinate their activity to make sense of the world and to create behavior. After a Ph.D. in Berlin, and a postdoctoral stay at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in New York, he became a professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris in 2007.
Last year, he joined the Champalimaud Center for the Unkown as a principal investigator. His laboratory develops methods to visualize and interpret neural recordings and constructs theories of the computations implemented by neural circuits.
Although not an expert in magic, he volunteered to share his insights on how our brains can be tricked and manipulated without ever becoming aware of it.