You'll notice this week that Carl Schoonover
appears both in the broadcast and on our Brainiac book club, where we feature his beautiful book Portraits of the Mind.
In this Think About It web exclusive you can find some of the images that are found between the covers of Portraits of the Mind.
Alfonso Rodríguez-Baeza and Marisa Ortega-Sánchez (2009)
Photomicrograph of the microscopic blood vessels that carry nutrients to neurons in the brain, obtained with a scanning electron microscope. This sample, from Human cerebral cortex, shows a large blood vessel at the surface of the brain (top), which sends down thin, densely branched capillaries to deliver blood throughout the entire cortex.
Ryan Draft, Jeff Lichtman and Joshua Sanes (2007)
Image taken from a transgenic "Brainbow" mouse that enables neuroscientists to distinguish between neighbouring, densely packed neurons by illuminating them in different colors. This photomicrograph reveals the disposition of axons that regulate the contraction of certain muscles.
Ibn al-Haytham (circa 1027, published in 1083)
The oldest known drawing of the nervous system shows a large nose at the bottom, eyes on either side, and a hollow optic nerve that flows out of each one towards the back of the brain. From the Book of Optics. Courtesy of the Süleymaniye Library, Istanbul.
Camillo Golgi (1875)
Drawing of a dog's olfactory bulb by Italian physician and scientist Camillo Golgi. The features that appear here were revealed by a revolutionary method for staining nervous tissue that bears his name. Courtesy of Dr. Paolo Mazzarello, University of Pavia - Department of Experimental Medicine - Section of General Pathology.
Anonymous (19th century).
Human skull inscribed by a nineteenth-century practitioner of phrenology. According to this now discredited theory, bumps on the skull betray the volume of the brain areas beneath each one, and thus can be employed to divine a subject's cognitive or moral strengths and weaknesses. Photograph by Eszter Blahak/Semmelweis Museum.
Andy Fischer (2008)
The neural circuitry in the eye transforms light into signals that the brain can understand. This image of a chick's retina reveals the neurons that perform this function with, at the top, its photoreceptor cells (in gray). These are the familiar 'rods and cones' that capture photons of light and translate them into electrical currents.