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Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are

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Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are Cover

ISBN13: 9780547508184
ISBN10: 0547508182
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

We know that each of us is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, our uniqueness resides. Is it in our genes? The structure of our brains? Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our personality. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how? Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brains neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. The connectome, as its called, is where our genetic inheritance intersects with our life experience. Its where nature meets nurture.

Seung introduces us to the dedicated researchers who are mapping the brains connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental undertaking — the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest — but if they succeed, it could reveal the basis of personality, intelligence, memory, and perhaps even mental disorders. Many scientists speculate that people with anorexia, autism, and schizophrenia are "wired differently," but nobody knows for sure. The brains wiring has never been clearly seen. In sparklingly clear prose, Seung reveals the amazing technological advances that will soon help us map connectomes. He also examines the evidence that these maps will someday allow humans to "upload" their minds into computers, achieving a kind of immortality.

Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are. Welcome to the future of neuroscience.

Review:

"A landmark work, gorgeously written. No other researcher has traveled as deeply into the brain forest and emerged to share its secrets." David Eagleman, author of Incognito and Sum

Review:

"Connectomics is emerging as a crucial and exhilarating field of study. Sebastian Seung takes you by the hand and shows you why. Connectome is a page-turner — a book that should be read by anyone who lays claim to be thinking about the nature of life." Michael Gazzaniga, University of California at Santa Barbara, author of Human and Who's in Charge?

Review:

"Sebastian Seung scales the heights of neuroscience and casts his brilliant eye around, describing the landscape of its past and boldly envisioning a future when we may understand our own brains and thus ourselves." Kenneth Blum, executive director, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University

Review:

"Sebastian Seung can do it all. He's widely recognized as a superb physicist, a whiz with computers, and a path-breaking neuroscientist. Connectome shows that he's also a terrific writer, as inspiring as he is clear and good-humored." Steven Strogatz, Cornell University, author of Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order

Review:

"The best lay book on brain science I've ever read." Wall Street Journal by Daniel Levitin, Professor, McGill University; author of This Is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs.

Review:

"This is complicated stuff, and it is a testament to Dr. Seung's remarkable clarity of exposition that the reader is swept along with his enthusiasm, as he moves from the basics of neuroscience out to the farthest regions of the hypothetical, sketching out a spectacularly illustrated giant map of the universe of man." New York Times

Review:

"[A] bracing, mind-expanding report from neurosciences razor edge. Accessible, witty, [e]minently logical and at times poetic, Connectome establishes Seung as an important new researcher, philosopher and popularizer of brain science. It puts him on par with cosmology's Brian Greene and the late Carl Sagan." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"Seung argues intelligently and powerfully that the self lies in the totality of the brains wiring." Christof Koch, Professor, California Institute of Technology; Chief Scientific Officer, Allen Institute for Brain Science; author of Quest for Consciousness and Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist

Review:

"With the first-person flavour of James Watsons Double Helix — an account of how DNAs structure was discovered — Connectome gives a sense of the excitement on the cutting edge of neuroscience." NewScientist

Review:

"An elegant primer on what's known about how the brain is organized and how it grows, wires its neurons, perceives its environment, modifies or repairs itself, and stores information. Seung is a clear, lively writer who chooses vivid examples." Washington Post

Review:

"In Connectome, Sebastian Seung reminds us that the human brain has contemplated itself for centuries. This is an important book, full of refreshingly new science and engaging history, about the essential quest to understand ourselves." Phillip A. Sharp, MIT, 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Synopsis:

The audacious effort to map the brain—and along with it our mental afflictions, from autism to schizophrenia—by a rising star in neuroscience.

Synopsis:

YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR GENES. YOU ARE YOUR CONNECTOME.

The bold and thrilling quest to finally understand the brain — and along with it our mental afflictions, from depression to autism — by a rising star in neuroscience.

Sebastian Seung, a dynamic young professor at MIT, is at the forefront of a revolution in neuroscience. He believes that our identity lies not in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells — our own particular wiring. Seung and a dedicated group of researchers are leading the effort to map these connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental effort — the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest — but if they succeed, they will uncover the basis of personality, identity, intelligence, memory, and perhaps disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Seung explains how this new map of a human "connectome" might even enable us to "upload" our brains into a computer, making us effectively immortal.

Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are, both as individuals and as a species.

www.connectomethebook.com

Synopsis:

“This is complicated stuff, and it is a testament to Dr. Seung’s remarkable clarity of exposition that the reader is swept along with his enthusiasm, as he moves from the basics of neuroscience out to the farthest regions of the hypothetical, sketching out a spectacularly illustrated giant map of the universe of man.”—Abigail Zuger, M.D., New York Times

Every person is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, that uniqueness resides. Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our character. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how?

Sebastian Seung is at the forefront of a revolution in neuroscience. He believes that our identity lies not in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells—our particular wiring. Seung and a dedicated group of researchers are leading the effort to map these connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It’s a monumental effort, but if they succeed, they will uncover the basis of personality, identity, intelligence, memory, and perhaps disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story that presents a daring scientific and technological vision for understanding what makes us who we are, both as individuals and as a species.

“Accessible, witty, imminently logical and at times poetic, Connectome establishes Seung as an important new researcher, philosopher and popularizer of brain science. It puts him on par with cosmology’s Brian Greene and the late Carl Sagan.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

Video

About the Author

Sebastian Seung is Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He has made important advances in robotics, neuroscience, neuroeconomics, and statistical physics. His research has been published in leading scientific journals, and also featured in The New York Times, Technology Review, and The Economist.

Table of Contents

Introduction • ix

Part I: Does Size Matter?

 1 Genius and Madness • 3

 2 Border Disputes • 22

Part II: Connectionism

 3 No Neuron Is an Island • 39

 4 Neurons All the Way Down • 60

 5 The Assembly of Memories • 76

Part III: Nature and Nurture

 6 The Forestry of the Genes • 99

 7 Renewing Our Potential • 116

Part IV: Connectomics

 8 Seeing Is Believing • 137

 9 Following the Trail • 155

 10 Carving • 170

 11 Codebreaking • 185

 12 Comparing • 201

 13 Changing • 216

Part V: Beyond Humanity

 14 To Freeze or to Pickle? • 233

 15 Save As . . . • 254

Epilogue • 274

Acknowledgments • 277

Notes • 279

References • 314

Figure Credits • 335

Index • 336

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

sheila_clover, February 7, 2012 (view all comments by sheila_clover)
What makes us who we are? Of course, our genetic map, referred to as the genome, stores our hereditary information, but surely this is not all that there is to us. In fact, only a moment of reflection will help you to understand the impossibility of this. What about the memory of your first love? Is that in your genome? And think for a moment about your failures and the lessons you have learned as a result. That information is not genetic, right? The truth of the matter is simply that we have yet to understand the complexities of our development as whole human creatures and the qualities that make each of us unique. These are still mysteries we have yet to fully comprehend. But an ambitious and capable professor at MIT is working to change all of that. Sebastian Seung, a professor of computational neuroscience, seeks to understand the complex relationship between neuronal connections and what we are as real people. The science may seem a little “mind-boggling,” but Seung, using clear language and his knack for story-telling, will help ordinary people to understand the vast network of neurons and their impact upon the development of what might be referred to as our human core, our hopes and dreams, our passions and fears. The implications are astounding. Seung, along with the help of colleagues, wants to map the “connectome,” a relatively new term used to refer to the intricate system of neuronal connections just mentioned. In Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are, he provides an illustration of how these connections between neurons relate to the paths we take as people. More importantly, it may provide clues to the causes of serious conditions that in many ways hinder the functioning of people in society, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Seung, who has received numerous accolades in a variety of contexts, is at the forefront of a field that promises to achieve many breakthroughs with regard to our understanding of human nature and the reasons behind certain behaviors. Connectome is extremely important for any reader interested in brain science or recent discoveries in neuroscience, but it should also be well-received by readers who generally wish to know more about discoveries involving what shapes us as unique human beings.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547508184
Author:
Seung, Sebastian
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin
Subject:
General-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20120231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
66 illustrations
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mind and Consciousness
History and Social Science » Current Affairs » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Neurobiology

Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547508184 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A landmark work, gorgeously written. No other researcher has traveled as deeply into the brain forest and emerged to share its secrets."
"Review" by , "Connectomics is emerging as a crucial and exhilarating field of study. Sebastian Seung takes you by the hand and shows you why. Connectome is a page-turner — a book that should be read by anyone who lays claim to be thinking about the nature of life."
"Review" by , "Sebastian Seung scales the heights of neuroscience and casts his brilliant eye around, describing the landscape of its past and boldly envisioning a future when we may understand our own brains and thus ourselves."
"Review" by , "Sebastian Seung can do it all. He's widely recognized as a superb physicist, a whiz with computers, and a path-breaking neuroscientist. Connectome shows that he's also a terrific writer, as inspiring as he is clear and good-humored."
"Review" by , "The best lay book on brain science I've ever read." Wall Street Journal by Daniel Levitin, Professor, McGill University; author of This Is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs.
"Review" by , "This is complicated stuff, and it is a testament to Dr. Seung's remarkable clarity of exposition that the reader is swept along with his enthusiasm, as he moves from the basics of neuroscience out to the farthest regions of the hypothetical, sketching out a spectacularly illustrated giant map of the universe of man."
"Review" by , "[A] bracing, mind-expanding report from neurosciences razor edge. Accessible, witty, [e]minently logical and at times poetic, Connectome establishes Seung as an important new researcher, philosopher and popularizer of brain science. It puts him on par with cosmology's Brian Greene and the late Carl Sagan."
"Review" by , "Seung argues intelligently and powerfully that the self lies in the totality of the brains wiring." Christof Koch, Professor, California Institute of Technology; Chief Scientific Officer, Allen Institute for Brain Science; author of Quest for Consciousness and Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist
"Review" by , "With the first-person flavour of James Watsons Double Helix — an account of how DNAs structure was discovered — Connectome gives a sense of the excitement on the cutting edge of neuroscience."
"Review" by , "An elegant primer on what's known about how the brain is organized and how it grows, wires its neurons, perceives its environment, modifies or repairs itself, and stores information. Seung is a clear, lively writer who chooses vivid examples."
"Review" by , "In Connectome, Sebastian Seung reminds us that the human brain has contemplated itself for centuries. This is an important book, full of refreshingly new science and engaging history, about the essential quest to understand ourselves."
"Synopsis" by ,
The audacious effort to map the brain—and along with it our mental afflictions, from autism to schizophrenia—by a rising star in neuroscience.
"Synopsis" by , YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR GENES. YOU ARE YOUR CONNECTOME.

The bold and thrilling quest to finally understand the brain — and along with it our mental afflictions, from depression to autism — by a rising star in neuroscience.

Sebastian Seung, a dynamic young professor at MIT, is at the forefront of a revolution in neuroscience. He believes that our identity lies not in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells — our own particular wiring. Seung and a dedicated group of researchers are leading the effort to map these connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental effort — the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest — but if they succeed, they will uncover the basis of personality, identity, intelligence, memory, and perhaps disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. Seung explains how this new map of a human "connectome" might even enable us to "upload" our brains into a computer, making us effectively immortal.

Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are, both as individuals and as a species.

www.connectomethebook.com

"Synopsis" by ,
“This is complicated stuff, and it is a testament to Dr. Seung’s remarkable clarity of exposition that the reader is swept along with his enthusiasm, as he moves from the basics of neuroscience out to the farthest regions of the hypothetical, sketching out a spectacularly illustrated giant map of the universe of man.”—Abigail Zuger, M.D., New York Times

Every person is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, that uniqueness resides. Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our character. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how?

Sebastian Seung is at the forefront of a revolution in neuroscience. He believes that our identity lies not in our genes, but in the connections between our brain cells—our particular wiring. Seung and a dedicated group of researchers are leading the effort to map these connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It’s a monumental effort, but if they succeed, they will uncover the basis of personality, identity, intelligence, memory, and perhaps disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story that presents a daring scientific and technological vision for understanding what makes us who we are, both as individuals and as a species.

“Accessible, witty, imminently logical and at times poetic, Connectome establishes Seung as an important new researcher, philosopher and popularizer of brain science. It puts him on par with cosmology’s Brian Greene and the late Carl Sagan.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

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