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Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century Hardcover – November 1, 2010
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About the Author
Carl Schoonover is a doctoral candidate in neurobiology and behavior at Columbia University, where he is a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow.
More About the Author
Carl currently lives in New York City and works on microanatomy and electrophysiology of rodent somatosensory cortex in the Bruno laboratory at Columbia University Medical Center.
Top Customer Reviews
In Portraits of the Mind, Carl Shoonover goes far beyond presenting an extensive compilation of beautiful images of the brain's physiology. He uses them in conjunction with brilliant and down-to-earth essays from top neuroscienctist to tell the story of the brain and of the people who've studied it throughout the centuries.
This book is a work of art to be treasured by anyone who shares appreciation for visual imaging, science and the brain.
The book opens with a well-written introduction and preface by the author who sets us on a journey to experience the ancient beliefs about the brain and the gradual probing of understanding how thoughts are transmitted and how the body works under the governorship of the brain. Beginning with Galen and progressing through Vesalius and Descartes (with some fascinating information on phrenology!) and Golgi, the beginning of Neuroscience as a subject begins the intensive writing and illustrations of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852 - 1934), the Spanish histologist, neuroscientist, and Nobel laureate. From here until the end of the book are images now available through electron microscopy, MRI, and other sophisticated forms of imaging that present the art of the central nervous system. After reading the texts, returning to the book becomes an artistic experience as the illustrations are endlessly fascinating.
PORTRAITS OF THE MIND is a book that marries science and art and will likely become a part of not only schools of science and medicine, but also schools of art. Very well written and produced, this book is highly recommended for the investigative mind! Grady Harp, January 11
Maybe I don't mean this as a negative review of the book per se (it gives plenty of background on the science), but I do want to take issue with some of the more gushy reviews on this page. It's hard to combine art with science, in my view, because the underlying intentions are usually so different. You wind up with didactic art (boring) or mushy science (possibly worse than boring). I think this book does a really impressive job of navigating between those extremes, but inevitably the result is not a total success.
If you want to see beautiful pictures of neurons - minus the hype - I'd recommend "the fine structure of the nervous system" by Peters. "Human microscopic anatomy" by Krstic is also stunning, but hideously expensive.
I have so many neurology books, but this one is unique. It is delightful and I've shown the book to professionals of all fields who also find it fascinating. It is targeted to the general audience and it is a magical book. In the book, you experience the nervous system as a thing of beauty that assembles chemistry, electrical and cellular sciences together in a way that as life itself, shows a glimpse of God's great mysteries. Enlightening!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Among other virtues of this book, it's fascinating to follow the evolution of the illustrations over several decades of neuro-biological research, from simple graphs, to electron... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Louis I. Jaffe
The illustrations and enhanced cross sections were fantastic.Published 16 months ago by Judith Medoff
My work is in the neurosciences and I am happy to have this book. While my current project is on a functional unit of the CNS this book was able to explain why so often many... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Thought
This book catalogs state of the art imaging techniques used to explore the brain and nervous system. Read morePublished on January 6, 2014 by Laura