Eric R. Kandel

The fourth of the Ten Commandments begins with an injunction to remember: "Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy." Yet another biblical commandment enjoins us to remember the experience of the Exodus all the days of our lives.

Our 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award is being presented this year to Dr. Eric Kandel, a man who has authored perhaps the most famous book ever written on memory, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (W. W. Norton & Company, 2006). Dr. Kandel's book, while outlining the medical discoveries that led to his being awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, is equally rooted in his life experience, most fundamentally his family's escaping Austria with their lives, after the Nazis had deprived them of all their possessions. The brilliance of In Search of Memory is the manner in which Dr. Kandel interweaves his revolutionary scientific findings on how the mind remembers, with an account on how his early memory of his personal exodus has shaped his own lifetime of experience and achievement. The author’s most recent book is The Age of Insight: A Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present (Random House, 2012) which continues in the pursuit of this connection. It is through the written word that Kandel bridges science, art and his Jewish identity.

Dr. Kandel has cultivated a long-standing warm relationship with the Jewish Book Council, and has appeared at Jewish Book Fairs throughout the United States to discuss how his Jewish experience informed his lifetime’s work.

It is in recognition of Dr. Kandel's contributions to the contemporary Jewish community, to the world of literature and of science that the Jewish Book Council is honored to present him with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award.