Standing ovation for science and music at 3rd “Science Meets Music” event

Science surely met music at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience’s (MPFI) third “Science Meets Music” event in late March. Gauging from the reaction of the crowd – a rousing standing ovation for both the scientific lecture and complementary piano performance – the series continues to serve as one of Palm Beach County’s cultural highlights. Iain D. Couzin, Ph.D., Director of Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, provided a visual guide to collective animal behavior in his presentation, “From Democratic Consensus to Cannibalistic Hordes: The Principles of Collective Behavior.” Dr. Couzin’s talk was bookended with performances by internationally-renowned pianist, Sofiya Uryvayeva, D.M.A.


“We are pleased with the continued excitement and overwhelming enthusiasm for the ‘Science Meets Music’ program,” said Dr. David Fitzpatrick, MPFI CEO and Scientific Director. “In its fourth year, this season has seen incredible success, which is why we expanded this year’s series from three to four events. There will be one more opportunity of 2017 to experience the wonder of science and music converging on April 19.”


(4) IMG_5676--Sofiya UryveyevaThe evening concert and lecture took place at The Benjamin Upper School in Palm Beach Gardens and featured pieces from the Institute’s inspiring new art exhibition, Threshold to the Unknown, requisitioned by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs for its February 2017 Convening Culture Conference.  On display during the reception, the exhibit is underwritten by David and Nancy Auth, and is described as an exploration into the creativity, curiosity and wonder of brain research at MPFI. The exhibit includes both artistic interpretations as well as actual microscopic images of the brain.


Max Planck Florida Foundation’s two new giving tiers were also acknowledged at the event and their respective members were recognized for their significant support of MPFI’s mission and research. In addition to the Max Planck Florida Brain Trust, the annual giving collective established in 2015, the Max Planck Florida Catalyst Council and the Max Planck Florida Max Trust have recently been established. Max Planck Florida Catalyst Council members impact brain research through significant contributions of $100,000 to $1 million that spark discovery and shape the future of our scientific world. Max Planck Florida Max Trust members truly revolutionize brain research through transformational gifts of $1 million or more that significantly impact scientific capabilities and advancements for generations to come.


Before drawing the curtain for the season, the final performance of “Science Meets Music” will return to Benjamin Hall on April 19 and present Samuel M. Young, Jr., Ph.D., Research Group Leader of Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Function for MPFI.  Prior to joining MPFI in 2010, Dr. Young was an Internal Research Group Leader in the Department of Membrane Biophysics at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany. His lecture will be accompanied by a chamber music recital from acclaimed duo, violinist, Aleksandr Zhuk and pianist, Tao Lin.


The Benjamin Upper School is located at 4875 Grandiflora Road, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for a reception and the presentation and music performance begins at 6:15 p.m. “Science Meets Music” is a free event, however, seating is limited and reservations are required. For more information or to RSVP, please call 561-972-9027 or visit


MPFI appreciates the commitment of all of its sponsors this 2017 Season, including The Benjamin School for hosting the event at Benjamin Hall and Carmine’s Market and Prosecco Café for providing delicious receptions for guests to enjoy.



The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), a not-for-profit research organization, is part of the world-renowned Max Planck Society, Germany’s most successful research organization with over 80 institutes worldwide. Since its establishment in 1948, 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists. It has produced over 15,000 publications, more than 3,000 inventions and over 90 spin-off companies, putting it on par with the best and most prestigious research institutions in the world. As its first U.S. institution, MPFI brings together exceptional neuroscientists from around the world to answer fundamental questions about brain development and function and to develop new technologies that make groundbreaking scientific discoveries possible. Their research is shared publicly with scholars, universities and other organizations around the globe, providing the necessary foundation of knowledge to develop treatments and cures for brain disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. For more information, visit