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.
A riveting narrative account of a brilliant, rebel scientist and his notorious lab as they unlock the mystery of memory.
For decades Gary Lynch sought to uncover what physically happens in the brain when we form a memory. Luckily award-winning journalist Terry McDermott was with Lynch in his lab as his staff worked tirelessly to achieve this groundbreaking scientific discovery. Here with the verve of a novelist, McDermott introduces the cutting-edge science and wild cast of characters that enabled Lynch to reveal the inner workings of the memory machine. He then explains some practical applications of these discoveries: drugs that could possibly cure a wide range of neurological conditions, including ADHD. He also shows where Lynch’s sights are now set: on discovering the larger architectural of memory formation.
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.