Thoughtful Gifts for Curious People

The Idea of the Brain


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This is the story of our quest to understand the human brain. Today we often picture it as a computer. Earlier scientists thought about it as a telephone switchboard, a clock, and all manner of fantastic mechanical or hydraulic devices. Could the right metaphor unlock its deepest secrets once and for all?

Galloping through centuries of wild speculation and ingenious, sometimes macabre anatomical investigations, scientist and historian Matthew Cobb reveals how we came to our present state of knowledge. Our latest theories allow us to create artificial memories in the brain of a mouse, and to build AI programmes capable of extraordinary cognitive feats. A complete understanding seems within our grasp, but to make that final breakthrough, we may need a radical new approach. At every step of our quest it has been new ideas that brought illumination. Where, Cobb asks, might the next one come from? And what will it be?

Paperback, 480 pages.
Measures 12.9 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm.