Barak Morgan is a Principal Researcher in Affective Neuroscience in the MRC/UCT Medical Imaging Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.
He was born in Johannesburg where he attended Wits University, first studying Zoology. His main interests were evolutionary theory, animal behaviour, and developmental neurobiology. He was lucky to have some excellent teachers, including the evolutionary biologists Hugh Patterson, Elisabeth Vrba, and Barry Fabian, developmental biologist and recent recipient of the inaugural Nature lifetime mentorship award. This was in the early 1980s, during which time the country was in the death throws of apartheid. He helped organise Stephen Jay Gould’s anti-racism visit to South Africa and also heard Richard Dawkins speak in Pretoria. It was with a strong grounding in fundamental biology, first-hand exposure to anti-reductionist perspectives in evolutionary theory, and a basic knowledge of Philosophy of Science that he went on to study Medicine with a view to Psychiatry. He qualified in 1992 and spent six years in clinical Psychiatry in Johannesburg and London. Then frustrated by the backwardness of Medical Science, especially Psychiatry, he moved to Cape Town and completed a PhD in Engineering in 2005.
His other interests are the African wilderness, Landrover maintenance and Buddhist meditation.