Brains by Purves, Dale

By Purves, Dale

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The comparison was discouraging. I didn’t see him as necessarily smarter or feel that I could never reach his level of technical skill (although I had serious doubts on both counts). It was his obvious passion for the craft that dismayed me, a passion I had already begun to realize I lacked. I found reading the surgical journals as uninteresting as I had found reading Moore’s book on postoperative care; and generating the zeal for operating that came naturally to Folkman was, for me, forced. m.

Ltd. For Shannon, who has always deserved a serious explanation. Contents Preface Chapter 1 Neuroscience circa 1960 Chapter 2 Neurobiology at Harvard Chapter 3 Biophysics at University College Chapter 4 Nerve cells versus brain systems Chapter 5 Neural development Chapter 6 Exploring brain systems Chapter 7 The visual system: Hubel and Wiesel redux Chapter 8 Visual perception Chapter 9 Perceiving color Chapter 10 The organization of perceptual qualities Chapter 11 Perceiving geometry Chapter 12 Perceiving motion Chapter 13 How brains seem to work Suggested reading Glossary Illustration credits Acknowledgments About the author Index Preface This book is about the ongoing effort to understand how brains work.

Hodgkin and Huxley’s discovery of the action potential mechanism was quickly recognized as a major advance; ten years after the work had been published, the Nobel committee awarded them the 1963 prize in Physiology or Medicine. 3 The electrical signal (the action potential or spike) that is conducted along nerve cell axons, transferring information from one place to another in the nervous system. A) Diagram of a cross-section of the spinal cord showing the stimulation of a spinal motor neuron (red) whose axon extends to a muscle.

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