Monday, 14 February 2011
How to write a neuroscience textbook
I've been leaving the trusty old iPod at home and instead carrying "Dendritic Spines" (Rafael Yuste, MIT Press, 2010) with me for on-tube entertainment. Also for propping up in front of my sandwiches during my lunch "break". It's a long time since I have come across such a readable science text. My previous big purchase, "Barrel Cortex" by Woolsey and Fox, had large tracts of impenetrable dullness. But Yuste's book, as well as being less than half the price, just whizzes along. Considering the fairly technical nature of its subject matter, it's superbly readable.
I think part of the secret is that Dr Yuste has a big idea, and his writing buzzes with the excitement of getting this across to you. After all, if spines are the physical substrate of memory and cognition, then it's pretty important to understand how they work.
Plus it has a great chapter on Ramon y Cajal, my neuroscience hero....