The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience

By Matthew Cobb

Recommended on: 17th June 2020

The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience, by Matthew Cobb. This broad-ranging book starts back in the dawn of written history, where we learn that even back in ancient Rome, active learning was a “thing.”  “To demonstrate his discoveries Galen used ‘lecture-commentaries’ in which he simultaneously described his new knowledge and showed it in an animal… this was part of Galen’s emphasis on the importance of experience in understanding.” As Cobb wends his way into modern times, matters get even more interesting. We learn, for example, of the different main theories of consciousness, how they differ, and why each theoretical approach still has problems.  

The study of the brain is endlessly fascinating, and Cobb’s delightfully wry sense of humor provides the perfect foil as we get an overview of the field’s history.