A Science Driven Life

An un-edited blog about science, discovery, technology, travel and the occasional whiskey

SDL Monthly Book Club

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Happy 2014!  For those interested, we are starting a book club.  We will set a date to have completed the book and on that date I will contact all of you to schedule a time we can meet up.

Books We‘re Reading:

April 2014:  Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others – Marco Iacoboni

Please have this book ready by April 30, 2014!  What accounts for the remarkable ability to get inside another person’s head—to know what they’re thinking and feeling? “Mind reading” is the very heart of what it means to be human, creating a bridge between self and others that is fundamental to the development of culture and society. But until recently, scientists didn’t understand what in the brain makes it possible.

This has all changed in the last decade. Marco Iacoboni, a leading neuroscientist whose work has been covered in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal, explains the groundbreaking research into mirror neurons, the “smart cells” in our brain that allow us to understand others. From imitation to morality, from learning to addiction, from political affiliations to consumer choices, mirror neurons seem to have properties that are relevant to all these aspects of social cognition. As The New York Times reports: “The discovery is shaking up numerous scientific disciplines, shifting the understanding of culture, empathy, philosophy, language, imitation, autism and psychotherapy.”
Mirroring People is the first book for the general reader on this revolutionary new science.

 

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March 2014Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality – By Patricia Churchland

Please have this read by March 24, 2014 for a discussion within a week of that date.

Particia Churchland is a previously wrote a book titled “Neurophilosophy” in which she attempts to lays the foundation for the study of philosophy based on basic neuroscience and does a nice job giving an overview of neuropsychology and develops a template for studying philosophy from a basic research perspective.  In Braintrust, Churchland attempts to describe what we know about morality and moral behavior through social sciences and the underlying neural mechanisms (mostly from preclinical/animal research).  This should be a fun read for us all and I look forward to discussing it with you all next month!

April 2014:  Looking for suggestions!  Send me an email or comment below!

Past Books:

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February 2014:   A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

Please have this read by February 24, 2014 for a discussion within a week of that date.

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I chose this book because I very much enjoy the ‘take no shit’ approach to science that Lawrence Krauss excels at.  Dr. Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist at Arizona State University where he runs Origins Project.  He wrote some other great books, including Quantum Man (on one of my intellectual heroes Richard Feynman) and the Physics of Star Trek (just a cool book).  He’s taken a celebrity stance as an outspoken atheist and in 2013 released a movie with Richard Dawkins (whom we will read soon!) challenging theism and a belief in God.  The premise of this book is how we can explain the “nothingness” in the universe and that may have existed before the universe.  How do we get a big bang, and everything in the universe from “nothing”?  Careful when thinking about “nothing“- it can be confusing but if you follow Krauss closely his position comes together well.  I look forward to a very active discussion on this.

Written by Michael Mohammadi

January 23, 2014 at 13:23

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