I think that reverse-engineering the human brain could well be the scientific undertaking and accomplishment of the 21st century, rivaling the greatest successes of prior years. All human undertakings and accomplishments are essentially the results of brains doing things, and so if we could understand their mechanisms at a deep level the theoretical and practical applications could be incredible.
The Blue Brain project is a Swiss research project aiming to create a whole brain emulation down the molecular level, and is currently vying with other projects for big funding dollars: €1 billion over 10 years. I’ve been keeping tabs on its progress, and by that I mean I’ve been following the series of documentaries by Couple 3 Films that has been doing yearly snapshots of the project. The third installation was recently released, and here it is along with the previous two years: