Tales from Both Sides of the Brain
A Life in Neuroscience
Michael S. Gazzaniga, one of the most important neuroscientists of the twentieth century, gives us an exciting behind-the-scenes look at his seminal work on that unlikely couple, the right and left brain. Foreword by Steven Pinker.
In the mid-twentieth century, Michael S. Gazzaniga, “the father of cognitive neuroscience,” was part of a team of pioneering neuroscientists who developed the now foundational split-brain brain theory: the notion that the right and left hemispheres of the brain can act independently from one another and have different strengths.
In Tales from Both Sides of the Brain, Gazzaniga tells the impassioned story of his life in science and his decades-long journey to understand how the separate spheres of our brains communicate and miscommunicate with their separate agendas. By turns humorous and moving, Tales from Both Sides of the Brain interweaves Gazzaniga’s scientific achievements with his reflections on the challenges and thrills of working as a scientist. In his engaging and accessible style, he paints a vivid portrait not only of his discovery of split-brain theory, but also of his comrades in arms—the many patients, friends, and family who have accompanied him on this wild ride of intellectual discovery.
Praise For Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience…
— New York Times Book Review
“Tales will be cataloged as scientific autobiography. . . . But it is as much a book about gratitude—for the chance to study a subject as endlessly fascinating as the brain, for the author’s brilliant colleagues and . . . for the patients who taught him . . . so much.”
— Wall Street Journal
“[A] compelling autobiography . . . Gazzaniga was at the heart of a pivotal research programme and struck up friendships with neuroscience and psychology luminaries. . . . his natural appetite to tell juicy-behind-the-scenes stories is more than welcome.”
“One of the fathers of cognitive neuroscience narrates his life’s work in this warm memoir illuminating the birth of the revolutionary split-brain theory . . . Gazzaniga’s tales of decades-long friendships show that science can be a surprisingly social co-creative effort that thrives outside the lab.”
— Entertainment Weekly
“In this fascinating memoir . . . [Gazzaniga’s] warmth and good humor virtually jump off the page. . . . Gazzaniga’s memoir should delight fans of the television series The Big Bang Theory, but it will also have tremendous appeal for non-nerds, too.”
— Booklist, Starred Review
“A fascinating affirmation of our essential humanity.”
— Kirkus Reviews
” . . . A winding tale of a life lived in science and the joys of bringing science to the public. . . . Gazzaniga’s book is of great interest to . . . anyone intrigued by the story of one of the greatest discoveries in cognition.”
— Publishers Weekly
“It is fascinating to read about the stories going on behind the split-brain experiments that don’t make it into the scientific literature. . . . Good for readers who enjoy scientific biographies and anyone interested in neuroscience.”
— Library Journal
“The story of how science works interwoven with the life of a brilliant scientist who not only created an entire new field of inquiry but just happened to live in the Animal House at Dartmouth. A marvelous, exciting adventure, elegantly written.”
— Daniel J. Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession and The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
“The personal story of a genius famous for one of the rare major discoveries ever made out in the still vast, still baffling terra incognita of the human brain, namely, the split-brain phenomenon.”
— Tom Wolfe, author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Testand The Right Stuff
Ecco, 9780062228857, 448pp.
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
About the Author
Michael S. Gazzaniga is internationally recognized in the field of neuroscience and a pioneer in cognitive research. He is the director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of many popular science books, including Who’s in Charge? (Ecco, 2011). He has six children and lives in California with his wife.