In which Sagan lays a foundation. Chapter 2 — Can We Know the Universe? In which Sagan reflects on if we can ever understand a grain of salt. Chapter Gott and the Turtles In which Sagan reflects on origins and unanswered questions. Chapter The Amniotic Universe In which Sagan posits that the human quest for knowledge is a reflection of our desire to understand the trauma of a shared human experience—being born.
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Shelves: non-fiction , science Museums have an inner world that the public never sees. In one of these hideaways, Carl Sagan was permitted to view the brain of Paul Broca, a surgeon who died in As Dr. Sagan looked at the cerebral remains of one of his heroes, he had this thought: It was difficult to hold Brocas brain without wondering whether in some sense Broca was still in there. Sagan wondered at a possible future where technology would allow us to download Brocas memories.
And then he wrote something that struck me. Museums have an inner world that the public never sees. After all, what if we could tap the intelligence of brilliant men and women, now deceased? I admired Sagan for volunteering the questionable nature of his own desire for access. This book is a collection of essays, many previously published in magazines. With a firm command of both science and humanity, Sagan explores a range of issues related to our existence. Especially engrossing, even haunting, are his ruminations on the process of dying.
Sagan writes with candor about the issues facing our species. He also throws some pointed jabs at absurd notions that regrettably retain traction in modern society. As our world becomes almost wholly dependent on scientific technology, works like this will be an essential frame of reference for laypersons.
The more I read Sagan and others, the more I am convinced that being conversant in science is a matter of civic responsibility. With some technical exceptions, the content of this book is very accessible.
For those who have already read other works by Carl Sagan, I highly recommend it. If you have not yet tried Sagan, I suggest starting with the novel Contact, or getting a hold of his groundbreaking work Cosmos. The latter is available on DVD and in book form.
Broca's Brain Quotes
Title[ edit ] The title essay is named in honor of the French physician , anatomist and anthropologist , Paul Broca — He is best known for his discovery that different functions are assigned to different parts of the brain. He believed that by studying the brains of cadavers and correlating the known experiences of the former owners of the organs, human behavior could eventually be discovered and understood. To that end, he saved hundreds of human brains in jars of formalin ; among the collection is his own brain. Contents[ edit ] A major part of the book is devoted to debunking "paradoxers" who either live at the edge of science or are outright charlatans.
Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science
Skeptical Cannon: A Reading Guide For Broca’s Brain by Carl Sagan
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