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The War of the Soups and the Sparks
Author: Elliot S. Valenstein

ISBN: 9780231135887
Format: Hardcover
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 7 June 2005
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5
Description:


Like the cracking of the genetic code and the creation of the atomic bomb, the discovery of how the brain's neurons work is one of the fundamental scientific developments of the twentieth century. The discovery of neurotransmitters revolutionized the way we think about the brain and what it means to be human yet few people know how they were discovered, the scientists involved, or the fierce controversy about whether they even existed. "The War of the Soups and the Sparks" tells the saga of the dispute between the pharmacologists, who had uncovered the first evidence that nerves communicate by releasing chemicals, and the neurophysiologists, experts on the nervous system, who dismissed the evidence and remained committed to electrical explanations.

The protagonists of this story are Otto Loewi and Henry Dale, who received Nobel Prizes for their work, and Walter Cannon, who would have shared the prize with them if he had not been persuaded to adopt a controversial theory (how that happened is an important part of this history). Valenstein sets his story of scientific discovery against the backdrop of two world wars and examines t...

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