Israel Rosenfield is the author, with Edward Ziff, of DNA: A Graphic Guide to the Molecule That Shook the World. He is preparing an English translation of Plaisir de jouer, plaisir de penser by Catherine Temerson and Charles Rosen. (June 2018)

IN THE REVIEW

Epigenetics: The Evolution Revolution

Children in Amsterdam during the Dutch Hunger Winter, 1944–1945
It is by now well established that people who suffer trauma directly during childhood or who experience their mother’s trauma indirectly as a fetus may have epigenetically based illnesses as adults. More controversial is whether epigenetic changes can be passed on from parent to child.

Making Memories

Collage by Eric Edelman

Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets

by Luke Dittrich
H.M., as he came to be known in the medical literature, could no longer remember anything he did. He could not remember what he had eaten for breakfast, lunch, or supper, nor could he find his way around the hospital. He failed to recognize hospital staff and physicians whom he had met only minutes earlier. Every time he met a scientist from MIT who was studying him regularly, she had to introduce herself again. He could not even recognize himself in recent photos, thinking that the face in the image was some “old guy.” Yet he was able to carry on a conversation for as long as his attention was not diverted.

The Secret of Good Taste

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880–1881

Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters

by Gordon M. Shepherd
The worlds we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste exist independently, but we know them only through the fabrications of our brains. The colors we see do not exist apart from our perception of them. The words and sentences we believe we are hearing are a jumble of sounds, whistles, …

How the Mind Works: Revelations

The Physiology of Truth: Neuroscience and Human Knowledge

by Jean-Pierre Changeux, translated from the French by M.B. DeBevoise

Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors: From Molecular Biology to Cognition

by Jean-Pierre Changeux and Stuart J. Edelstein
Jean-Pierre Changeux is France’s most famous neuroscientist. Though less well known in the United States, he has directed a famous laboratory at the Pasteur Institute for more than thirty years, taught as a professor at the Collège de France, and written a number of works exploring “the neurobiology of meaning.” …

Evolving Evolution

From DNA to Diversity: Molecular Genetics and the Evolution of Animal Design

by Sean B. Carroll, Jennifer K. Grenier, and Scott D. Weatherbee

Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom

by Sean B. Carroll
Despite much recent controversy about the theory of evolution, major changes in our understanding of evolution over the past twenty years have gone virtually unnoticed. At the heart of Darwin’s theory of evolution is an explanation of how plants and animals evolved from earlier forms of life that have long …

A New Vision of Vision

Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain

by Semir Zeki

Visual Intelligence: How We Create What We See

by Donald D. Hoffman
By the end of the nineteenth century neurologists were convinced that seeing and understanding were two distinct, anatomically separate brain functions; seeing was passive and understanding active. The evidence seemed clear: patients with damage in one part of the brain became blind, whereas patients with damage in another part of …