Action Potential

We’re about to nail this mother to the door

That’s what Gary Lynch said of the physiological mechanism of memory in 2005 when L. A. Times reporter Terry McDermott asked to visit Lynch’s University of California, Irvine lab. McDermott returned repeatedly, and his findings were featured last week in an epic four-part series in the L. A. Times.

The series reads like engrossing Greek drama, complete with a misunderstood hero and the tragicomedy of high stakes science. Lynch is painted as the lone wolf battling evil editors and competitors to get the truth out. Although it’s over-dramatized and Lynch’s role is perhaps a bit overstated, the science, aimed entirely at the lay person, is quite good. According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, few Americans (19%) follow science news, so if it takes high drama to sell science stories to the public, I’m all for it. McDermott should be congratulated for getting neuroscience on the front page.