The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul

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Scribner, 1994 - Science - 317 pages
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Forty years ago, Francis Crick, along with James Watson, made history with the discovery of the structure of DNA, forever changing our understanding of life itself. Now Crick is once again at the frontier of scientific discovery, turning his attention to the mysteries of human consciousness. Bent on deciphering the complexities of the brain, Crick maps out the neurobiology of vision. The result is a cogent, witty, and richly detailed analysis of how the brain "sees", and a daring exploration of some of the most fundamental questions of human existence: Do we have free will? What exactly is it that makes us sentient beings and different from other animals? Is there such a thing as a soul, or are we nothing more than an immensely complex collection of neurons? In this groundbreaking, provocative work, Francis Crick challenges the very foundations of current scientific, philosophical, and religious thought.

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The astonishing hypothesis: the scientific search for the soul

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Nobel Prize winner Crick, who with James D. Watson discovered the molecular structure of DNA, considers the nature of human consciousness, focusing in particular on visual consciousness in an explanation of how the brain "sees.'' Read full review


The General Nature of Consciousness

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About the author (1994)

Born in Northampton, England, Francis Crick received a B.S. from University College in London and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1955. Crick began his career as a physicist, but in 1949 he began research in molecular biology at Cambridge. In 1951 he and the American biologist James Watson began working intensively to learn the structure of the DNA molecule. Using research findings that the British scientists Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin had reached on the structure of nucleic acids, including DNA, they succeeded in building a model of the molecule in 1953. The Watson-Crick model for DNA was hailed by biologists worldwide. Crick, Watson, and Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in recognition of their great achievement. The same year, Crick became director of Cambridge's Molecular Biology Laboratory, where he went on to do further work on the genetic code. In 1977 he became a research professor at the Salk Institute in San Diego.

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