- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 30, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195181824
- ISBN-13: 978-0195181821
- Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1.3 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #794,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Minds behind the Brain: A History of the Pioneers and Their Discoveries 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
With neuroscience steadily replacing psychology, philosophy, and even religion as a model of self-understanding, it's time we take a look back at the history and meaning of this curious branch of research. Washington University historian Stanley Finger charms and invigorates the reader with Minds Behind the Brain, a look at thousands of years of brain science in the form of biographical sketches. Nineteen great scientists whose brilliant insights, determined work, and resistance to cultural expectations brought this three-pound, lumpy beige ball increasing respect--from the ancient Egyptians discarding it upon death to our own view of it as the seat of consciousness.
Ramon y Cajal, Sperry, Galen, and Descartes are among the researchers Finger chooses to illuminate. Their peers, colleagues, and times are also portrayed vividly; the unavailability of human corpses for dissection until very recently, the still-raging debate on vivisection and animal research, and religious resistance to certain findings have all worked against these men and women. Well-chosen illustrations help humanize these figures, as does the author's careful balance between depictions of research and personal lives. How did Descarte's dog figure in the philosopher's understanding of the soul? Find out in Minds Behind the Brain. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Cognitive science is now all the rage; contradictory, up-to-date hypotheses on how the mind works or doesn't work crowd bookstore shelves. It wasn't always thus. Finger (Origins of Neuroscience) complements the current vogue for brain books with a wide-ranging and detailed set of profiles reaching back to the distant past. Each chapter describes a figure or pair of figures whose ideas and treatments of the brain "dramatically changed the scientific or medical landscape." Finger points first to the Egyptian grand vizier Imhotep (c. 2600 B.C.), probable author of the ancient field medicine manual now called the "Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus"; he moves swiftly to Hippocrates, who proposed the brain as the seat of consciousness. Finger's last chapter covers the neurobiologists Roger Sperry and Rita Levi-Montalcini, who both studied nerve growth in the 1940s and '50s; Sperry later studied patients who had lost their corpus callosum, the bridge connecting the brain's two hemispheres. Changing religious beliefs, animal dissections, advancing research technologies and pure chance, Finger demonstrates, have all played roles in the advance of our knowledge about minds and brains. Although the level of explanation and detail positions this study uncomfortably between academic and popular science writing; it will, however, please readers already interested in the history of science and curious about what generations of scientists past believed, guessed or found out about the brain. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The pictures and photographs add to the interest level and fun of reading this book. I enjoy seeing the older instruments, the drawings done by the original scientists, and photographs of the man with myasthenia gravis who was given anticholinesterase drugs to help with his affliction. This type of information puts a human face on dry science. Ultimately it is the application of what is learned in neuroscience used to relieve the suffering of those with chronic degenerative diseases which I find rewarding, not just the science as an end in itself. In fact, most of the men who made significant additions to neuroscience and understanding of the brain were trying to elucidate how the brain works in order to help those with these types of brain problems.
Finger does an excellent job. It is a long book, but immensely readable. Lots of information that was new to me, along with information that I had gotten glimpses from other sources (usually magazine articles in historical or lay science journals). This book should definitely be on hold in any university library where neuroscience is being taught, and if teaching neuroscience, professors should recommend to students to go and read the relevant chapters for historical background in this book.
There were a few scientists I would have liked more information on like Wilder Penfield. I would have preferred more recent (last 150 years) then all the early information from Greek history. That is a personal bias of mine, and not a reflection on the author who had to make choices of how much to put in the book about whom. I plan on keeping this book where I can reach it for papers and for teaching. I disagree with the reviewer who complained about all the references. I appreciate the referenced information, so that I know where to go for more information on a particular topic. I also plan on making this book recommended reading for my students and for deaf students. Karen Sadler, Science Education, University of Pittsburgh
Finger attempts to humanize the people who have made major contributions to our understanding of how the human brain works. For instance, while describing Descartes, who viewed animals as ?beast machines?, Finger points out that Descartes had a pet dog called Mr. Scratch and that Descartes adored his pet but at the same time denied the possibility that the dog could ever truly return the affection. Finger winds his way through the scientific undertakings of people who both contributed greatly to our modern understanding of neural workings (e.g. Paul Broca) as well as those whose contributions seem crude to us now (e.g. Hippocrates 4-humor model) but are important nonetheless.
The book is somewhat lengthy at just over 300 pages, but can be easily be approached on a chapter by chapter basis. Each chapter covers the contributions of only one or two individuals. The writing is interspersed with black and white drawings and photographs, generally to illustrate a point of anatomy or to show the face of the person whom Finger is describing. The academic inclusion of numbered references into the text detracts from the casual writing style that the author wisely adopted. In the end, Finger?s efforts to capture the history of this great human undertaking is largely successful and makes for a fascinating book.
Otherwise, a wealth of information.