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BOOK REVIEW
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 138--139

Eminent Neuroscientists: Their Lives and Works

D Raja Reddy 
 Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon, Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, India

Correspondence Address:
D Raja Reddy
Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon, Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
India




How to cite this article:
Reddy D R. Eminent Neuroscientists: Their Lives and Works.Neurol India 2012;60:138-139


How to cite this URL:
Reddy D R. Eminent Neuroscientists: Their Lives and Works. Neurol India [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Nov 22 ];60:138-139
Available from: http://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2012/60/1/138/93593


Full Text

[AUTHOR:1]Author: Kalyan B. Bhattacharyya

Publishers: Association of Neuroscientists of Eastern India and Academic Publishers, Kolkata

Year: 2011; Pages: 443; Rs: 750 /-

ISBN: 978-93-80599-28-1

This book describes the biographies of pioneers whose contributions built the edifice of neurological sciences during the past few centuries. One hundred and twenty-eight giants of neurosciences belonging to the past and modern era are listed along with their contributions to the understanding of the functioning of the nervous system as well as their humane side, which makes this book an outstanding effort by Bhattacharyya. For example, a great neurologist, Anita Harding, who was dying young from a terminal cancer revealed her sense of humor while bidding farewell to her friends and life. The book also brings to life the anguish and sufferings of those neuroscientists who opposed Nazism and hence incarcerated. Fritz Heinrich Lewy was the Director of the Neurological Research Institute in Berlin, had to leave the post, and migrate to UK first and then to USA because he was a Jew. Alfred Bielschowsky was removed from his position owing to his Jewish heritage and then emigrated to USA. Otto Loewi, the Nobel laureate, was arrested with his sons and he was only released on condition to emigrate and instruct his Swedish bank in Stockholm to transfer the prize money to a bank operated by the Nazis. Berger was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize which Nazis prevented and forced him to stop his research, and in depression he committed suicide. There were 10 Nobel laureates among these neuroscientists, namely, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Camillo Golgi, Robert Barany, Henry Hallett Dale, Charles Sherrington, Edgar Douglas Adrian, Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield, Alan Lloyd Hodgkin, Otto Loewi, and Edgar Moniz. There is an interesting story about the Nobel winner Barany who was a Russian prisoner of war when he got the prize in 1914 and how Prince Carl of Sweden persuaded Czar of Russia to release him and he received the prize next year. There is also criticism about Julius Hallervorden and Hugo Spatz who did their studies on human brains from the victims of Nazi prison camps and they also participated in pro-Nazi activities. Oskar Vogt was privileged to study the brain of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin of Russia. This book is full of such stories and makes an interesting and absorbing reading.

Each biography details the major contributions of the neuroscientist to neurological sciences besides providing a sketch of his/her life. The book includes a brief biodata of all the neuroscientists with photos of most of them and also helps in knowing more about them by the references provided by the author. Bhattacharyya deserves commendation for a very painstaking and exhaustive work which took him nine long years and one can see the fruitful result in every page of the book. Some may criticize the book by saying that very many great neuroscientists who are alive today are not included in it and there is also omission of some neuroscientists from Asia and Latin America who also contributed to neurosciences. Hope that Bhattacharyya will continue this brilliant work and bring out the biographies of Indian neuroscientists in future.

This book is a great effort by the author which brought to light the contributions of the eminent neuroscientists to neurological sciences, but it also portrays them in humane manner describing their lives and works. Some of them were multifaceted excelling in music, art, and someone like Babinsky writing on gastronomy, a book titled "Alibaba." Majority of them achieved pinnacles of success in their lifetime with honors, but some of them also endured hardships and sufferings. This is a very useful book for every one interested in the study of neurosciences.