Looking for a good read? PAW asked some professors for their recommendations for the following categories:
1. Your favorite book to teach
2. The must-read book in your field
3. Your favorite pleasure read
4. The book you are currently reading
Each Tuesday for several weeks PAW will post a professor’s suggestions on The Weekly Blog, starting with those of Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute Samuel S. Wang. In upcoming weeks, look for the recommendations of Director of the Program in Jazz Studies Anthony D.J. Branker ’80, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Michael G. Littman, Director of the Program in the Study of Women and Gender Jill Dolan, and Acting Chair of the English department Anne A. Cheng ’85.
Samuel S. Wang
Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute
FAVORITE BOOK TO TEACH:
For my course NEU101, “Neuroscience and Everyday Life,” I give readings from Phantoms In the Brain by V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee. Rama is a well-known neurologist whom I have hosted for a Princeton public lecture; Blakeslee is an excellent science writer. They use the strange phenomenon of phantom limb syndrome to write about how everybody’s brain works. The representation of an amputated limb lingers in the brain. As a result it hurts even though it’s gone. Why that is, and how it can be addressed by simple tools that cost pennies, are the topic of the book. It’s a fascinating read.
I also love A Hole In the Head, a collection of essays by my colleague Charles Gross in psychology. Gross is an eminent neuroscientist and a lucid writer. His writings on everything from trepanation to dyslexia are amazing — valuable to scientists and historians of science alike.