Two doctors, the Spaniard Cajal and the Italian Golgi, were racing against each other to find out what brain cells looked like and how they managed to communicate with one another. Both did their most important research in labs set up on their kitchen tables, for lack of better facilities; and both made landmark findings that led to their jointly receiving the 1906 Nobel Prize. Yet one man would find that neurons communicated over a gap, later named the 'synapse', while the other would die convinced that every brain cell connected to the next. From Parkinson's to neurosurgery, from the mechanics of memory to clinical depression, modern medicine is ever indebted to the one who interpreted the elusive - and rather extraordinary - anatomy of the nerve cell. This is the story not only of one of the nineteenth century's greatest discoveries but also of the frailty, perseverance, and creativity of human beings.