One day, the American journalist Joshua Foer is surfing the net, trying to find the answer to a specific question: who is the most intelligent person in the world? He can’t find a definitive answer.
The quasi-religious zeal with which certain popularising neuroscientists claim that man is no different, essentially, from the animals, and that consciousness is but an epiphenomenon, strikes me as distinctly odd.
Simon Baron-Cohen has spent 30 years researching the way our brains work.
‘La justice flétrit, la prison corrompt et la société a les criminels qu’elle mérite’ — Justice withers, prison corrupts, and society gets the criminals it deserves.
Cancer is usually associated with death.
This book reads like an interesting after- dinner conversation between intelligent friends.
How Music Works opens with a blizzard of reassurances.
Stephen Hawking is the most distinguished living physicist, who despite the catastrophe of motor neurone disease has been twice married, is a bestselling author and a media super-star.
Robert Coover’s Noir is a graphic novel.
Giles St Aubyn, in this long, scholarly book, sets out to chronicle the shifts in the Christian churches from the scientific revolution of the 17th century, and the Enlightenment of the 18th, to the apparent triumph of secularism in the 20th.
Not long ago I had an email from a friend, wondering if I’d yet read the new Ian McEwan.
In November 1660, on a damp night at Gresham College in London, a young shaver named Christopher Wren gave a lecture on astronomy.
In 1564 a book was published calculating that there were 7,409,127 demons at work in the world, under the administrative control of 79 demon-princes.
Sometimes you can become too well known.
Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo, by Michael McCarthy
Wings and Rings: A History of Bird Migration Studies in Europe, by Richard Vaughan
By all accounts a modest and retiring example of his species, Charles Darwin would surely have been more astonished than flattered by the honours done him during this year’s bicentennial celebrations.
The Lost City of Z, by David Grann
The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning, by James Lovelock He Knew He Was Right: The Irrepressible Life of James Lovelock and Gaia, by John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin
Why Us?, by James Le Fanu
Darwin’s Sacred Cause, by Adrian Desmond and James Moore
Darwin: A Life in Poems, by Ruth Padel