An anonymous linchpin in neuroscience is revealed following his death

NY Times H. M., an Unforgettable Amnesiac, Dies at 82 is about Henry Molaison, who opened the way for modern neuroscience because he revealed the crucial role of memory:

“And for those five decades, he was recognized as the most important patient in the history of brain science. As a participant in hundreds of studies, he helped scientists understand the biology of learning, memory and physical dexterity, as well as the fragile nature of human identity.”

Molaison could not form long-term memory, and had to live each day as if its events were the first time he had faced them. He lived in an eternal present, without the weight of a future and with only a remote past (prior to the surgery that cut his hippocampus in 1953). He then went through years of investigations into how the operation affected his mental processes. He was known in the scientific literature as “H.M.”

Expect to see more articles and blogs about H.M.’s importance in science in the coming days. For a start: A Blog Around the Clock ::: NPR ::: The Day His Day Stood Still ::: Wikepedia