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THE STORY OF NEUROSCIENCE



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'How can a three-pound mass of jelly that you can hold in your palm imagine angels, contemplate the meaning of infinity, and even question its own place in the cosmos?' V. S. Ramachandran, neuroscientist, 2011 How we think, feel, move, remember, imagine, and experience the outside world and our own bodies is the domain of neuroscience. For millennia, the workings of the brain and nerves could be approached only through superstition and conjecture. Then, in the 19th century, neuroscience began to cast light on this most complex of our bodily systems. This book traces the development of neuroscience, from ancient beliefs to the technologies of the present day. Neuroscience is the science of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Our fascination with the mental activity that makes humans unique in the animal kingdom is as old as humanity itself, and the interaction of the physical body with the insubstantial mind has puzzled some of the greatest thinkers. Here we trace the story of our growing understanding of the nervous system, from the time of the Ancient Greeks through Descartes, Willis and Golgi to the work of Nobel prizewinning scientists. The Story of Neuroscience weaves together narratives from philosophy, religion, psychology, physics, anatomy, chemistry, pharmacology, and a host of other sciences. It is a story that is still unfolding today. Topics include: The interaction of mind, soul, and body The localization of functions within the brain The workings of the nervous system The motor system and how we move The sensory system and how we construct perception Mental illness, brain damage, and lessons from dysfunction and disease Mental activity, including learning, memory, identity, and imagination

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