A six-part PBS series

A six-part PBS series

David is the author and presenter of this international 6 hour series and the companion book. He poses a simple question from a neuroscientist's point of view: what does it mean to be human?
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

What's happening under the hood of conscious awareness? Just about everything.
David Eagleman's SUM

David Eagleman's SUM

This work of fiction is an international bestseller published in 27 languages. It has been turned into musical performances at the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Opera House in London. Learn more about it.


David is founder and director of the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, which studies how new discoveries in neuroscience can navigate the way we make laws, punish criminals, and develop rehabilitation.


A person with synesthesia might feel the flavor of food on her fingertips, sense the letter J as shimmering magenta or the number 5 as emerald green, hear and taste her husband's voice as buttery golden brown. Learn more.
Why the Net Matters

Why the Net Matters

  Are the threats that brought down previous civilizations averted by our new technologies? David thinks so, and he has a new book on it: WHY THE NET MATTERS

Eagleman - photo by Brian GoldmanDavid Eagleman is a neuroscientist and a New York Times bestselling author. He directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action at the Baylor College of Medicine, and also heads the Center for Science and Law. He is best known for his work on sensory substitution, time perception, brain plasticity, synesthesia, and neurolaw.

He is the writer and presenter of the international PBS series, The Brain with David Eagleman, and the author of the companion book, The Brain: The Story of You.

Beyond his 100+ academic publications, he has published many popular books. His bestselling book Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, explores the neuroscience "under the hood" of the conscious mind: all the aspects of neural function to which we have no awareness or access. His work of fiction, SUM, is an international bestseller published in 28 languages and turned into two operas. Why the Net Matters examines what the advent of the internet means on the timescale of civilizations. The award-winning Wednesday is Indigo Blue explores the neurological condition of synesthesia, in which the senses are blended. 

Eagleman is a TED speaker, a Guggenheim Fellow, a winner of the McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Communication, a Next Generation Texas Fellow, Vice-Chair on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Neuroscience & Behaviour, a research fellow in the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, Chief Scientific Advisor for the Mind Science Foundation, and a board member of The Long Now Foundation. He has served as an academic editor for several scientific journals. He was named Science Educator of the Year by the Society for Neuroscience, and was featured as one of the Brightest Idea Guys by Italy's Style magazine.  He is founder of the company BrainCheck and the cofounder of the company NeoSensory.  He was the scientific advisor for the television drama Perception, and has been profiled on the Colbert Report, NOVA Science Now, the New Yorker, CNN's Next List, and many other venues. He appears regularly on radio and television to discuss literature and science.

SUM at the Royal Opera House

ROHSUM has been turned into an opera at the Royal Opera House in London (Composer: Max Richter, Director: Wayne McGregor). The London Evening Standard hails the opera as "immersive, meditative and sweetly fascinating". Read about the background of the collaboration in Wired.

Eagleman TEDx talk

See David Eagleman's TEDx talk entitled "The Future of Reality"

How the Internet will save civilization

David's iPad app "Why the Net Matters, or Six Ways to Avert the Collapse of Civilization" was recently called a "superbook" by the New York Times Magazine. For a taste of the argument, read David's article in WIRED or watch a video of his talk at the Long Now Foundation. Don't have an iPad? The manuscript is now available as an eBook.

Emily Blunt reads for the Sum audio book

Hear the actress Emily Blunt (Young Victoria, Devil Wears Prada) read "The Cast" from Sum. She is one of the dozens of terrific actors who read for the audio book.

Sign up for the email updates

From the Eagleman Blog

My TED talk: Can we create new senses for humans?

Designing how we would like to experience our universe...

Brain Time

The days of thinking of time as a river—evenly flowing, always advancing—are over. Time perception, just like vision, is a construction of the bra

After Sandy Hook: Why mental illness matters

The shootings at Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012 sparked debate ranging from gun control to bulletproof windows. But the most fruitful approach may be

Italy's STYLE magazine: Idea Guys for 2012

Think it's unlikely for a scientist to be featured on the cover of an Italian fashion magazine? Me too! But strange things happen...

Remembering a trail blazer - Francis Crick

Francis Crick, one of the premier biologists of the 20th century, passed away July 28, 2004, in San Diego. On his 88th birthday, I brou

Time to End the War on Drugs?

To liberalise or prohibit?  Iin 2012, I joined Eliot Spitzer, Julian Assange, Vicente Fox, Russell Brand, Richard Branson and several others for

Emily Blunt reads "The Cast" from Sum

 Hear actress Emily Blunt read the story "The Cast" from Sum.

Why I am a Possibilian

Our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism, and yet we know too much to commit to a particular religion. A third position, agnostici

Will Self

The author Will Self and I appeared on stage together to discuss life, death, and what makes good writing.

Documentary on the History Channel

Interested in issues of memory and the brain? Watch a clip of David on the History Channel.

Eagleman and Eno perform Sum

Brian Eno and I have twice performed a musical version of Sum, once at the Sydney Opera House, and once at the Brighton Dome. Learn more.

Time perception on the Discovery Channel

Watch an experiment in which we studied time perception by dropping volunteer subjects from a 150 foot high tower.  Free fall.

Learn more about the Science

Time perception

To understand the neural mechanisms of time perception, David's lab combines psychophysical, behavioral, and computational approaches to address the relationship between the timing of perception and the underlying neural signals.


David is founder and director of the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, which studies how new discoveries in neuroscience can navigate the way we make laws, punish criminals, and develop rehabilitation.


In synesthesia, information between the senses is blended. Letters might trigger the experience of colors, or sounds the experience of taste, or many other combinations. My laboratory has tested and verified over 20,000 synesthetes, and we are working to understand how it sheds light on consciousness, from the genetics to the neural networks. 

Sensory Substitution

  Can sensory data be fed through unusual sensory channels?  And can the brain learn to extract the meaning of such information streams? Yes and yes. Sensory substitution is a non-invasive technique for circumventing the loss of one sense by feeding its information through another channel. 

Deep brain recording in humans

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) targets deep nuclei in the brain to help with Parkinsons Disease or tremor. During surgery, we have a window to measure the responses of single neurons in the human brain. While the recording electrodes are in place, we present sights and sounds to a patient while the responses of the neurons are recorded.  Find out more.

Other Projects

Other projects in our lab include the use of real-time feedback neuroimaging to break drug addiction, intervention programs in high-violence neighborhoods, word aversion, illusory motion reversal, the flash lag effect, a theory of cerebellar glomeruli, extracellular calcium as a neurotransmitter, and dopamine and human decision-making. Click to learn more.

Colbert Report

Watch David discussing Incognito, neural parliaments, and reality on the Colbert Report.

Style Magazine

David Eagleman Italian Style Magazine Cover
David has been named one of the Brainiest and Brightest Idea Guys by Italy's Style magazine.