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Showing posts from April, 2007

In Search of Memory – Eric R. Kandel ****

Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel has spent a career exploring the mechanism of memory at the level of individual cells. This book provides fascinating insights into both his work and the processes that were involved in it. Appropriately for a book on memory, it starts with Kandel’s earliest recollections, and by far the strongest part of the whole book are those sections where he describes events in Austria, both when he was young and experiencing the Nazi regime, and when as an acclaimed adult he returned to Vienna with very mixed feelings. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by a scientist (as opposed to a science writer) that had such strong writing as these sections have – the reader is really drawn in. The bulk of the book goes on to follow Kandel’s career, researching the mechanisms of memory in the brain. This is generally explained in a way that the general reader can handle, though occasionally it gets a little complex. Whether Kandel is dealing with cells from giant slugs, …