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Why we shouldn’t map the brain

The demise of the human brain project shows why promising the earth to get funding isn't always the best option

By Philip Ball  

Just mapping the brain won't help us to understand it

When the Human Brain Project was selected by the European Union’s Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) initiative as one of its two Flagship science projects, launched in October 2013 with funding of €1bn over ten years (half to be gathered from national research agencies and other sponsors), it never looked like a wise choice to me. Now it’s official that it wasn’t.

Sure, the brain is science’s next frontier—but only in…

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