John Dowling(photo by Charles Cochran)
May 10, 2005 marked the end of an era, both for Professor John Dowling and Biological Sciences 80 (“Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience”), as Professor Dowling gave his last lecture—after 31 years teaching the course. When Dowling concluded his last class, to his surprise, a large cake was wheeled out, and the class was joined by University Provost Steve Hyman. Dr. Hyman spoke about Professor Dowling’s contributions to the course, and touched on both the transformations to the course and the instructor over the years. Projected onscreen was a photo of Dowling from 1976, just a few years after he began teaching the course; followed by a copy of Dowling’s notes from the first class he taught, dated February 10, 1972, the basis of the materials he uses today.
Hyman introduced Dr. David Hubel, Nobel laureate and former HMS professor. Hubel, who taught the course with Dowling for the first few years, discussed the history of the course. Dr. Mike Hasselmo, presently a professor of Psychology at Boston University, spoke of his experience both as a teacher in the course with Dowling, and as a student in the course when an undergraduate at Harvard.
Students, faculty, and invited guests thanked Professor Dowling for his dedication and celebrated this special achievement with him.