POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Throughout his career, cognitive scientist Jamshed Bharucha has weaved together the seemingly disparate disciplines of music, biology, and psychology, and he will discuss "Music, Mind, and the Ineffable" on Thursday, February 21, at 5:30pm in room 212 of the Sanders Classroom Building. Bharucha, the provost of Tufts University and a Vassar College graduate, brings a unique combination of insights to the subject, as a renowned scholar of both psychology and music and an accomplished violinist. His lecture is free and open to the public, and sponsored by Vassar College's Carolyn Grant '36 Endowment for the study of the expressive arts and the human imagination.
Bharucha's work on the cognitive and neural basis of the perception of music, as well as his mastery of musical theory and cognitive science, has allowed scholars of the arts and sciences to communicate in dynamic new ways. His work on so-called "cognitive frames" – neural structures where we embed our knowledge and belief systems – as well as on learning in multi-cultural contexts, has sparked discussion of education in the increasingly globalized twenty first century.
Bharucha's research has attracted widespread attention and acclaim, earning him numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. He has authored and co-authored more than 40 publications, and has served as editor of Music Perception, the Psychological Review, and the Journal of Experimental Psychology. He is also a frequent contributor to National Public Radio, Discover magazine, and the NOVA program on PBS.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar with a degree in bio-psychology, Bharucha went on to earn an M.A. in philosophy from Yale University and a PhD in psychology from Harvard University. In 1991, Bharucha began his tenure as a professor of psychology and dean of the faculty at Dartmouth, and since 2002, he has served as provost, senior vice president, and professor of psychology at Tufts University. Earlier he had been a research associate at Cornell University and a visiting scholar at both Carnegie Mellon and Stanford universities.
In 2004, the Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College (AAVC) presented Bharucha its Distinguished Achievement Award, which honors an alumna or alumnus who has achieved the highest level in his or her field of endeavor, while exemplifying the ideals of a liberal arts education. Bharucha has said “The interdisciplinary ethos at Vassar set the standard for me as I moved through several institutions as a student, professor, and administrator." Since graduating from Vassar, he has served on the college's Board of Trustees (1991–1999) and participated in the Career Advisory Program for Vassar students.