Minds behind the Brain: A History of the Pioneers and Their Discoveries

Paperback | December 16, 2004

byStanley Finger

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Attractively illustrated with over a hundred halftones and drawings, this volume presents a series of vibrant profiles that trace the evolution of our knowledge about the brain. Beginning almost 5000 years ago, with the ancient Egyptian study of "the marrow of the skull," Stanley Finger takes us on a fascinating journey from the classical world of Hippocrates, to the time of Descartes and the era of Broca and Ramon y Cajal, to modern researchers such as Sperry. Here isa truly remarkable cast of characters. We meet Galen, a man of titanic ego and abrasive disposition, whose teachings dominated medicine for a thousand years; Vesalius, a contemporary of Copernicus, who pushed our understanding of human anatomy to new heights; Otto Loewi, pioneer inneurotransmitters, who gave the Nazis his Nobel prize money and fled Austria for England; and Rita Levi-Montalcini, discoverer of nerve growth factor, who in war-torn Italy was forced to do her research in her bedroom. For each individual, Finger examines the philosophy, the tools, the books, andthe ideas that brought new insights. Finger also looks at broader topics--how dependent are researchers on the work of others? What makes the time ripe for discovery? And what role does chance or serendipity play? And he includes many fascinating background figures as well, from Leonardo da Vinciand Emanuel Swedenborg to Karl August Weinhold--who claimed to have reanimated a dead cat by filling its skull with silver and zinc--and Mary Shelley, whose Frankenstein was inspired by such experiments. Wide ranging in scope, imbued with an infectious spirit of adventure, here are vivid portraits of giants in the field of neuroscience--remarkable individuals who found new ways to think about the machinery of the mind.

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Attractively illustrated with over a hundred halftones and drawings, this volume presents a series of vibrant profiles that trace the evolution of our knowledge about the brain. Beginning almost 5000 years ago, with the ancient Egyptian study of "the marrow of the skull," Stanley Finger takes us on a fascinating journey from the cla...

Stanley Finger is a leading historian of neuroscience, author of Origins of Neuroscience, senior editor of Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, and the first president of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences. He is Professor of Psychology at Washington University, where he is in the Program in the Neu...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 7.01 × 9.8 × 1.3 inPublished:December 16, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195181824

ISBN - 13:9780195181821

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction: A Voyage Across Time2. An Ancient Egyptian Physician: The Dawn of Neurology3. Hippocrates: The Brain as the Organ of the Mind4. Galen: The Birth of Experimentation5. Andreas Vesalius: The New "Human" Neuroanatomy6. Rene Descartes: The Mind-Body Problem7. Thomas Willis: The Functional Organization of the Brain8. Luigi Galvani: Electricity and the Nerves9. Franz Joseph Gall: The Cerebral Organs of Mind10. Paul Broca: Cortical Localization and Cerebral Dominance11. David Ferrier and Edward Hitzig: The Experimentalists Map the Cerebral Cortex12. Jean-Martin Charcot: Clinical Neurology Comes of Age13. Santiago Ramon Y Cajal: From Nerve Nets to Neuron Doctrine14. Charles Scott Sherrington: The Integrated Nervous System15. Edgar D. Adrian: Coding the Nervous System16. Otto Loewi and Henry Dale: The Discovery of Neurotransmitters17. Roger W. Sperry and Rita Levi-Montalcini: From Neural Growth to "Split Brains"18. Pioneers and Discoveries in the Brain SciencesNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Stanley Finger succeeds admirably in providing what students wanted to know about the 'real people' who pioneered Western knowledge of the brain. What has resulted is a most interesting and well-written account of how we have come to understand the brain and its workings."--Journal ofHistory of Neurosciences