Francisco Varela

Chilean Biologist
Born Sep 7, 1946

Francisco Javier Varela García, was a Chilean biologist, philosopher and neuroscientist who, together with his teacher Humberto Maturana, is best known for introducing the concept of autopoiesis to biology, and for co-founding the Mind and Life Institute to promote dialog between science and Buddhism.… Read More

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1946 Birth Varela was born in 1946 in Santiago in Chile, the son of Corina María Elena García-Tapia and Raúl Andrés Varela-Rodríguez. … Read More


1970 24 Years Old His thesis, defended in 1970 and supervised by Torsten Wiesel, was titled Insect Retinas: Information processing in the compound eye.
1973 27 Years Old After the 1973 military coup led by Augusto Pinochet, Varela and his family spent 7 years in exile in the USA before returning to Chile to become a Professor of biology. … Read More


1986 40 Years Old In 1986, he settled in France, where he at first taught cognitive science and epistemology at the École Polytechnique, and neuroscience at the University of Paris. … Read More
1987 41 Years Old In 1987, Varela, along with R. … Read More


2001 55 Years Old Varela died in 2001 in Paris of Hepatitis C after having written an account of his 1998 liver transplant. … Read More
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