We’re all about the cross-pollination of disciplines and we’re (naturally) fascinated by the human brain, so today’s release of Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century, a book that sources its material in science, roots its aesthetic in art, and reads like a literary anthology, is making us swoon in all kinds of ways. Author Carl Schoonover explores — in breathtaking visual detail — the evolution of humanity’s understanding of the brain, from Medieval sketches to Victorian medical engravings to today’s most elaborate 3D brain mapping.
The foreword by Jonah Lehrer, one of our favorite science-distillers, only adds to the tome’s already irresistable allure.
Schoonover curates images come from data laboratories around the world, many of which are revealed to the world for the first time, contextualized through essays by leading scientists. And while the history of brain research seems to be an extended exercise in Socratian the-more-we-learn-the-more-we-learn-how-little-we-know, Portraits of the Mind manages to construct a thrilling frame for hope in neuroscience by making the scientific understanding of the human brain both exciting and accessible, a digestible deluge of visual and intellectual fascination.
Images via The Atlantic