Berkeley brain scientist Marian Diamond may be best remembered by the general public for carrying a real human brain around in a hat box during her 55 years on campus. Alumnus Ron Hammer, however, remembers Diamond for sparking his lifelong interest in neurobiology and for mentoring him as a student researcher in her lab.
Now Hammer, who graduated in 1974 and is a professor at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine, and his spouse, geriatric neuropsychiatrist Sandra Jacobson, have given $2 million to mark Diamond’s lasting legacy in neuroscience. The gift will establish an endowed fund for the Marian C. Diamond and Arnold B. Scheibel Chair in Neuroscience, in honor of both Diamond and her husband, a retired neuroscientist at UCLA.
“Marian and Arnie have meant a great deal to me, inspiring my career as a scientist. For years, I have wanted to offer them a lasting tribute,” says Hammer, who earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience at UCLA.
Diamond, who retired in 2014, is the subject of a one-hour documentary, My Love Affair with the Brain: the Life and Science of Dr. Marian Diamond, which premiered locally last year and will air again on San Francisco public television station KQED this Wednesday at 8 p.m.