Maquina Lectora

Notes of a curious mind

Tag: Neuroscience

A Day in the Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield

“Without consciousness, life would indeed be pretty much the same as death. The conscious condition makes life worth living: yet what is it, this insubstantial, intangible inner … what exactly?”

Consciousness, once the province of philosophers and theologians, has become in the past few decades one of the great scientific challenges, a fascinating topic of research in psychology and neuroscience.

Susan Greenfield, a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University, heads a multi-disciplinary research group exploring novel brain mechanisms linked to neurodegenerative diseases. In her book A Day in the Life of the Brain draws on her own research to illuminate the mystery of consciousness in the course of a single day in the life of the brain.

Susan Greenfield takes everyday activities – waking up, walking the dog, eating breakfast, at the office, problems at home, sleeping and dreaming – to explore how the human brain is working. Her theory is that coalitions of millions of neurons are responsible for consciousness. These ‘neuronal assemblies’ play a central role in organising all the networks in the brain and somehow these neuronal assemblies provide a collective continuous experience of consciousness.

The book shows how the brain works, its complexity and the functionally of certain areas. It   has some good insights and it is written in a simple style, devoid of difficult jargon. It sheds some light on consciousness.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

The beauty of simplicity. Call it, elegance.

It is these two attributes, elegance and simplicity, that make Carlo Rovelli’s small book – just 83 pages long – “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics” so irresistible. It is a beautiful book.

In a series of six short essays/lessons on physics and one on “ourselves”, Rovelli explains the major concepts of modern physics, from general relativity to quantum mechanics, loop quantum gravity, and thermodynamics.

The book is far from comprehensive. It is more a coherent, and poetic introduction to physics, to the world around us. Also to the world inside us. The last lesson on neuroscience is perhaps the most enthusiastic and the most poetic part of the book. The human brain, the most complex structure in the universe, that beautiful and mysterious landscape filled with so many “unknown unknowns”.



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