Book Review by Amy Ione: Future of the Brain: Essays by the World’s Leading Neuroscientists

Future of the Brain: Essays by the World’s Leading Neuroscientists
edited by Gary Marcus and Jeremy Freeman

Posted: Leonardo Reviews, May 2017

One of the Times Higher Education’s Best Books of 2015, Future of the Brain offers a compilation of original essays by leading brain researchers. Divided into seven sections, the range and disparities of the authors’ views underscore the dearth of an overarching theory researchers apply to studies in this area. Cross-references among chapters do, however, remind us that science itself succeeds through communication among scientists about what their data says. Also noteworthy is that, even given the spectrum of views, most of the authors share a “we can do this” attitude: They are confident we can and will eventually understand the brain. Suffice it to say, as Gary Marcus, one of the book’s two editors notes: “Neuroscience today is a collection of facts, rather than ideas; what is missing is connective tissue. We know (or think we know) roughly what neurons do, and that they communicate with one another, but not what they are communicating” (p. 205).

The first section, mapping the brain, presents connectome projects. This idea (with computation) is the primary research paradigm presented in the book. Essays by Mike Hawrylycz, Misha Ahrens, Christof Koch, Anthony Zador, and George Church set the stage for this book’s survey of current efforts to understand brain connectivity through mapping and imaging neural activities of mice, strategies for reverse engineering and so forth. Computation, the subject of the second section, includes essays by May-Britt and Edvard Moser, Krishna Shenoy, Olaf Sporns, and Jeremy Freeman. Together the two sections argue that the brain is an organ of computation and scientists need to figure out what the brain is computing. Continue reading “Book Review by Amy Ione: Future of the Brain: Essays by the World’s Leading Neuroscientists”

Whale and nine new species provide insight into ocean’s depth

Scientists recently stumbled upon a whale skeleton on the ocean floor near Antarctica. This is one of only six natural whale skeletons found worldwide and, quite remarkably, they also found nine never-before-seen species of deep-sea organisms feeding on the bones and skull.

Scientists recently stumbled upon a whale skeleton on the ocean floor near Antarctica. This is one of only six natural whale skeletons found worldwide and, quite remarkably, they also found nine never-before-seen species of deep-sea organisms feeding on the bones and skull.

The whale is believed to be a Minke whale. The deep-sea organisms included a type of bone-eating Osedax worm. Researchers say this discovery, which was made almost a mile below the surface in an underwater crater, will provide new insights into life in the sea depths.

An article about the discovery is available from Science Direct,

Continue reading “Whale and nine new species provide insight into ocean’s depth”

STEAM Journal

STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The  STEAM Journal is a transdisciplinary, international, theory-practice, peer-reviewed, academic, open access, online journal with a focus on the intersection of the sciences and the arts. The STEAM Journal integrates perspectives from a variety of contexts and fields. The STEAM Journal inaugural issue ‘Luminare’ Vol. 1, Iss.1 3/13/13 is here! The STEAM website here