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Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century
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Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  193 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Portraits of the Mind follows the fascinating history of our exploration of the brain through images, from medieval sketches and 19th-century drawings by the founder of modern neuroscience to images produced using state-of-the-art techniques, allowing us to see the fantastic networks in the brain as never before. These black-and-white and vibrantly colored images, many res ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Harry N. Abrams
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4.36  · 
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 ·  193 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Images of How the Brain Works

Carl Schoonover, a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at Columbia University, has provided information and images about the function of the central nervous system that is as fascinating a read as it is a subject. Not one to tackle all aspects of this interesting book, Schoonover has engaged fellow scientists and historians to access the history of the study of the human brain from the Middle Ages to the present. The result is a book brimming with scientific
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Truth is beautiful" - is the leitmotif of this book and I don't think I can describe it better.
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
You do not have to be a scientist to enjoy this book. I came to the book from an artist's perspective and recommend the book to anyone interested in intersections between Art and Science, especially practicing artists in this field.

In saying that, none of the images are stand-alone artistic projects.The images in the book are all developed for scientific as oposed to purely aesthetic purposes.

You will not find any direct aesthetic or visual arts theory in the book, though its essays and caption
Nov 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book! It's basically eye-candy for people who enjoy neuroscience. I'm a neuroanatomist and I can tell you that we're pretty under appreciated. ;) I think it's really nice that readers of this book can see the beauty that this type of research can produce.
Edgar Guevara
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Art and neuroscience collide!
It is a fantastic collection of scientific illustrations of the brain at all scales, from nano to macro. It could be regarded as a wonderful summary of neuroscience history through beautiful pictures. However, I would say it is more than that: the captions contain some of the clearest layman's explanations of some of the most advanced neuroimaging techniques.
I consider this book succeeds not only in popularizing neuroscience, but also as an art book, since it contain
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful images and very clear writing make this a great resource for anyone interested in the history and current trends in brain imaging
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Those who say that science "unweaves the rainbow" (to borrow Dawkin's turn of phrase) and makes the ineffable mundane by means of reductionist explanations need to see this book. An intersection of art and science, an ode to the journey of brains in understanding themselves, it has successfully hijacked my awe response and refused to let go. There is something beautiful about gazing upon an intricate and infinitely complex picture of the human brain and feeling the inexplicabl ...more
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another book I took out of the library for its illustrations--from drawings of the brain as imagined by Galen in the 2nd century to the latest brain-imaging technology, Schoonover provides a visual feast. The complexity of the brain is well-documented; still, though much progress has been made in the last 100 years in the mapping and understanding of how information travels in the brain, the amount that remains to be discovered about brain function is layers deeper. And though MRIs and microscop ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
There's a lot of information packed into this book, and it is accompanied by beautiful glossy images. as the title and subtitle suggest, this little gem of a book discusses all known forms of brain imaging or visualization of the brain, from the past (such as phrenology) to the present (fMRI, EEG, MRI, etc.). I found it a JOY to read, but then again, I do like brains! This would be a great supplement to anyone's education in neurology or psychology, and is a great piece for a library.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished
Awesome and maddening. Maddeningly awesome. It's sort of like taking a docent-led tour of a neuroscience museum / exploratorium. There are a lot of incredibly intriguing images and tidbits and caption fragments, but then you are basically left hanging if you desire to actually understand the figures and methods, rather than simply to enjoy them aesthetically.

Still, I've never seen anything else like this, and I admire the motivation behind it and the curatorial skill.
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-misc
Loved this book. The images were beautiful (frame-it-and-put-it-on-your-wall beauitful). The writing was illuminating, challenging, and really made me think.

The perfect combination of being visually and conceptually compelling.
Nov 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
Beautiful, beautiful pictures. This is a very pretty book.

The fields of science and stage magic are probably both better off for Carl Schoonover choosing the former, though - he's got an admirably insatiable need to tell the audience how the tricks are done.
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-y
Science + Art = idon'tknowbutiwanttodoitwhenigrowup
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Carl Schoonover is a doctoral candidate in neurobiology and behavior at Columbia University, where he is a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow.