HM as I knew him.
I studied Cognitive Science in University and took some classes at the Montreal Neurological Institute. One brain we studied in great detail was this dude HM, who couldn’t form new memories. He died today. Peace the spork out HM. They removed areas of his brain near the hippocampus, where memories get consolidated, and he simply lost his RAM, effectively. Hard disk was OK, but everything new got wiped. As in, we heard stories about the Doctor walking in, introducing himself, walking out. Comes back in later and HM is like ‘Hi, who are you?’. Made it entirely impossible for him to live a normal life, but led to huge breakthroughs in neuroscience. Again, peace the spork out HM. In exams full of obscure Latin anatomy you were the only dude I knew.
One major revelation of HM was that the hippocampus, rather than being a school for hippos, was an area where memory was consolidated and ‘remembered’. He could could hold stuff in his head for about 20 seconds, but without the hippo it never got encoded further. Another discovery was the difference between explicit (declarative) and implicit (generally motor) memory. As in, items you can explicitly recall on a test and how you implicitly remember how to ride a bike. He could do the latter but not the former.
It was, a tragic life, but an important one. His name was Henry Gustav Molaison but me and countless other students and teachers and researchers knew him as HM.