Synopses & Reviews
An obsessive scientist and his eclectic team of researchers race to discover one of the hidden treasures of neuroscience — the physical makeup of memory — and in the process pursue a pharmaceutical wonder drug.
Gary Lynch is the real thing, the epitome of the rebel scientist: malnourished, contentious, inspiring, explosive, remarkably ambitious, and consistently brilliant. He is one of the foremost figures of contemporary neuroscience, and his decades-long quest to understand the inner workings of the brain’s memory machine has begun to pay off.
Award-winning journalist Terry McDermott spent nearly two years observing Lynch at work and now gives us a fascinating and dramatic account of daily life in his lab — the highs and lows, the drudgery and eureka moments, the agonizing failures. He provides detailed, lucid explanations of the cutting-edge science that enabled Lynch to reveal the inner workings of the molecular machine that manufactures memory. After establishing the building blocks, Lynch then set his sights on uncovering the complicated structure of memory as it is stored across many neurons. Adding practical significance to his groundbreaking work, Lynch discovered a class of drugs that could fix the memory machine when it breaks, drugs that would enhance brain function during the memory process and that hold out the possibility of cures for a wide range of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Here is an essential story of science, scientists, and scientific achievement—galvanizing in the telling and thrilling in its far-reaching implications.
“When you learn something new, your brain physically changes. But how, exactly? McDermott tells a thrilling insider’s story about the race to find out — and it’s a story you won’t forget.” David Eagleman, author of Sum
“In this engrossing book, Terry McDermott doesn't just teach you how the brain remembers. He also takes you inside the sanctum of science, documenting the failures and triumphs of the experimental process. This is a book about the truth, and the endless human struggle to find it.” Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist and How We Decide
“Terry McDermott's 101 Theory Drive is a reality show on paper, an inside look at Gary Lynch, the mysterious, Howard Hughes-like neuroscience pioneer, and his quest to uncover the mechanisms of memory, and to find a cure for memory loss. Great reading start to finish.” Joseph LeDoux, author of The Emotional Brain and Synaptic Self
“McDermott has written a gripping, perceptive, and informative account of a scientist's quest to unlock the secrets of memory. Pick it up, and you won't be able to put it down.” Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory
“The study of brain science is the new rocket science. 101 Theory Drive illuminates with great flair how we accomplish the simplest tasks, like remembering where we parked our car. It is breathtaking and wonderfully informative study of modern science and the people who do it. Like no other book since Watson’s Double Helix, McDermott’s masterpiece captures the triumphs and trials of modern science, and what drives researchers to make discoveries.” Andrew N. Meltzoff, Ph.D., Co-author of The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind
“101 Theory drive is a fun read about some fascinating neuroscience, and, even more importantly, provides a rare look into how science is really done. Can't wait to see the movie version.” Len Mlodinow, author of The Drunkard’s Walk
About the Author
Terry McDermott is a former national reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the author of Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers: Who They Were, Why They Did It. He lives in Southern California.