On January 27, 2009 the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Austrian Cultural Forum Washington and the Office of Science and Technology at the Embassy of Austria co-hosted a screening of “In Search of Memory,” a 95-minute documentary film by producer/director Petra Seeger on the life of Columbia University neuroscientist Eric Kandel, which was shown on tour throughout the U.S. Dr. Kandel won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2000 for his research on how our brains create memories.
The film was premiered in Vienna in May 2008 in the presence of Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer. Based on his autobiography published in 2006, the retrospective spans more than six decades of his life, weaving together recollections of childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna with his extraordinary scientific career in the U.S. and groundbreaking discoveries in the field of neurology. As an Austrian Jew forced to flee Vienna at the age of nine in 1939, Kandel attempts to come to terms with his past by retelling memories of his childhood, followed by the neuroscientist’s career in research which led to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, and ending with his personal rediscovery of Vienna after returning at age 78. In 2008 he was named “honorary citizen of the City of Vienna.”