Brain Books for Your Summer Reading List

“The brain has as many neurons as there are stars in the Milky Way.” –Nancy C. Andreasen M.D., Ph.D., Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives member

Cerebrum coverThis summer, as you go on vacation, relax, and ponder the mystery of the cosmos, take a good book with you that will have you contemplating the vastness of your own brain. The following summer reading list suggestions are all by Dana Alliance members or prominent neuroscientists and range from intellectual discovery to children’s poetry. Pick one up, and enjoy!

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Dana Press Offers Cerebrum Anthology 2014

Cerebrum cover“What makes us human?” asks Barbara Culliton in the Foreword of the new Cerebrum: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science 2014, an anthology of the articles and book reviews featured each month during 2014 on the web. As the editor of Cerebrum, the online journal published by the Dana Foundation, I’m confident in saying that this year’s stories strive to answer that question from a neuroscience perspective.

The book’s twelve articles and five book reviews cover the science behind the much-hyped cognitive training and brain games industry; the latest in brain-machine interfaces, the role that socioeconomic status plays in brain development, and individual sex differences in the human brain. From understanding induced pluripotent stem cells to the causes and effects of spatial awareness, the latter written by last year’s Nobel prize winners Edvard and May-Britt Moser, the goal of Cerebrum is to take complex research and explain the importance in simple and understandable language.

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National Geographic Features Split-Brain Pioneer

For more than fifty years, DABI member Michael Gazzaniga, Ph.D., has been working towards fostering our understanding of the human brain. During the summer of 1964, he worked under neurobiologist Roger Sperry at the California Institute of Technology and contributed to a discovery that is now considered “legendary” in the field of brain science.

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The Biology of Love: Who We Choose and Why

Valentine’s Day inspires a post about someone who has dedicated her career to studying the science behind attraction and desire. For more than thirty years, Helen Fisher, Ph.D., has studied the link between brain chemistry and romantic love, in hopes of better understanding the patterns that occur when human beings choose their mates.

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Helping Scientists Translate Their Work for the Lay Public

Since the 1980s, the Dana Foundation has actively promoted and participated in communicating science to the lay public. Helping to lead those efforts was Jane Nevins, Dana Press editor-in-chief emerita, who edited scientist-written publications and books for nearly twenty-five years, tackling topics such as deep brain stimulation, mental illness, and stroke.

explaining_frontcoverIn her final year with the foundation, Nevins compiled her best practices into a handy reference book for scientists writing for the lay public, You’ve Got Some Explaining to do: Advice for Neuroscientists Writing for Lay Readers. The book is available for sale at Amazon for $2.99 or as a free PDF on our website.

From the chapter “What Readers Want”:

You want to write something for a particular reason, and your reader wants to read it for the same reason. It’s not about all the science you know, but about the science that fits your and the reader’s attraction to the story. Believe this, and it will lighten your task by orders of magnitude, because you can focus on choosing the appropriate scientific content and making it clear and interesting.

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