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

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Oxford University Press, USA, 2000 - Medical - 364 pages
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Now in a more affordable paperback version! A best seller!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 is a 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 in neurotransmitters, 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, and the 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 Vinci and 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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Minds behind the brain: a history of the pioneers and their discoveries

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Throughout this 4600-year voyage through the history of neuroscience, Finger (neural sciences, Washington Univ.; Origins of Neuroscience) introduces us to 19 Western thinkers who have made significant ... Read full review


A Voyage Across Time I
The Dawn of Neurology
The Brain as the Organ of Mind
The Birth of Experimentation
The New Human Neuroanatomy
The MindBody Problem
The Functional Organization of the Brain
Electricity and the Nerves
The Experimentalists Map the Cerebral Cortex
Clinical Neurology Comes of Age
From Nerve Nets to Neuron Doctrine
The Integrated Nervous System 2 ij 15 Edgar D Adrian Coding in the Nervous System
The Discovery of Neurotransmitters
From Neural Growth to Split Brains
Pioneers and Discoveries in the Brain Sciences

The Cerebral Organs of Mind
Cortical Localization and Cerebral Dominance

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About the author (2000)

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 Neurosciences as well as the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program. He lives in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

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