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The Idea of the Brain

The Idea of the Brain

The Past and Future of Neuroscience

A powerful 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.

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.

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Genre: Nonfiction / Science / Life Sciences / Neuroscience

On Sale: April 21st 2020

Price: $25.98 / $32.98 (CAD)

ISBN-13: 9781549155963

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Matthew Cobb weaves a fascinating story of the historical arc of neuroscience, from the initial discovery that the brain gives rise to our minds, to the state of the art in the manipulation and control of the brain."—Russell Poldrack, professor of psychology at Stanford University
"In this engrossing book, Matthew Cobb deftly recounts the tortuous history of research on the brain, in which researchers pursue the hard problems of memory, consciousness, and volition, always limited by forced comparisons between human brains and the machines available at the time. A work of history and deep scholarship, but written in an engaging and lively way, The Idea of the Brain is optimistic about the recursive attempts of our brains to understand themselves, yet reminds us that the three most important words in science are, 'We don't know.'"—Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True
"This exquisitely well-researched and thrilling book charts an epic high-level quest to understand our deepest selves. Its scale and scope is phenomenal and leaves us with a profound sense of wonder about science and humanity as well as the brain itself. Altogether a feast."—Daniel M. Davis, author of The Beautiful Cure
"A scholarly and wonderfully entertaining guide to the advances that have driven our knowledge of the brain, and the extraordinary people who have made them."—Chris Frith, Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology at University College London
"This is a book I wish I could have written, and one that I will be thinking about for a long time."—Maria Picciotto, professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.
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