The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience

The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience

by Matthew Cobb

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Overview




An "elegant", "engrossing" (Carol Tavris, Wall Street Journal) examination of what we think we know about the brain and why — despite technological advances — the workings of our most essential organ remain a mystery.



"I cannot recommend this book strongly enough."—Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm

For thousands of years, thinkers and scientists have tried to understand what the brain does. Yet, despite the astonishing discoveries of science, we still have only the vaguest idea of how the brain works. In The Idea of the Brain, scientist and historian Matthew Cobb traces how our conception of the brain has evolved over the centuries. Although it might seem to be a story of ever-increasing knowledge of biology, Cobb shows how our ideas about the brain have been shaped by each era's most significant technologies. Today we might think the brain is like a supercomputer. In the past, it has been compared to a telegraph, a telephone exchange, or some kind of hydraulic system. What will we think the brain is like tomorrow, when new technology arises? The result is an essential read for anyone interested in the complex processes that drive science and the forces that have shaped our marvelous brains.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541646858
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 04/21/2020
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 51,996
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Matthew Cobb is a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester, where he studies olfaction, insect behavior, and the history of science. He earned his PhD in psychology and genetics from the University of Sheffield. He is the author of five books: Life's Greatest Secret, Generation, The Resistance, Eleven Days in August, and Smell: A Very Short Introduction. He lives in England.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Past 11

1 Heart 15

2 Forces 33

3 Electricity 57

4 Function 80

5 Evolution 103

6 Inhibition 117

7 Neurons 134

8 Machines 157

9 Control 175

Illustration section appears between pages 200 and 201

Present 201

10 Memory 207

11 Circuits 233

12 Computers 261

13 Chemistry 292

14 Localisation 312

15 Consciousness 336

Future 367

Acknowledgements 391

Notes 393

Picture credits 442

Index 445

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