A history of ideas about the brain

In Thursday’s episode of the BBC Radio 4 programme  In Our Time, presenter Melvyn Bragg was joined by Vivian Nutton, Jonathan Sawday and Marina Wallace (professors of the history of medicine, English and art, respectively) for a fascinating discussion about the history of the brain.

The 45-minute programme, which can be downloaded as a RealPlayer file from the link above, focuses on how perceptions of the brain have changed over the past 2,500 years, beginning with the first brain dissections, which were performed by Herophilus and Erasistratus in Alexandria, apparently on live criminals!

The Beeb’s researchers provide references for further reading, including some excellent books, most notably Clarke and O’Malley’s The Human Brain and Spinal Cord, which is the classic book about the history of neuroscience. They also link to my post Exorcizing animal spirits, which I originally wrote in November 2006, and reposted here back in July last year. 

(Thanks again to Ross)


  1. #1 ShlogBlogger
    May 10, 2008

    “In Our Time” is in the top 5 my all-time favourite podcasts… although haven’t listened to the this one yet.


    Great Blog by the way! Don’t know how you find the time! Keep up the great work.


New comments have been disabled.