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The Brain: A Very Short Introduction
There is no question: the mystery of brain is a challenge for science. Not just for the neuroscience.
The challenge that most surely will not be met in any predictable time.
The amazing little book: "The Brain: A Very Short Introduction" is a title in the Oxford University Press Series "Very Short Introductions" aimed at general readers and beginners alike.
Michael O'Shea's "The Brain" is a kind of the popular review of the state of art of brain research. Using simple terminology, the book covers the structure of the brain, signal transmission, evolutionary transformation of the brain, senses and effectors and the current understanding of the complex problem of memory. It also contains some analysis of very recent advances in robotics when it comes to its relation to neuroscience. And many, many more fascinating topics...
Among them is the very recent notion of "wireless-like", non-synaptic communication in the brain. Called "volume signalling" or GasNets, allows remote neurons to communicate without any synaptic connections.
There are fascinating short stories of discoveries as well. For example I was amazed by the description of the essence of Eric Kandel remarkable discoveries about memory.
I also found a very good, non-naive passages about relation of modern neuroscience and computer science. Some simple analysis presented by the author make the pretentious claims of strong AI proponents just ridiculous.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
There's a good amount of technical discussion in this book, which is exactly why I got it (to supplement my psychobiology class). If you don't know much about brain anatomy, you might find yourself opening up the dictionary pretty often. But it's all very interesting, and it's read slowly enough that I don't think it's impossible to follow. If you're looking for more of a real life-application type of book, this probably isn't it, but it's a good primer for those books.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful