Brainscapes Coming Soon

Figure from Brainscapes showing the layout of a brain map that represents touch on the body’s surfaces. Illustration by Paul Kim.

My book, Brainscapes, will be released this coming Tuesday and I could not be more excited to share it with the world. Brainscapes tells the story of brain maps–actual maps of space, action, and perception written into the surfaces of your brain. These maps represent the world around you, dictating what you perceive and shaping how you move, imagine, remember, and dream.

I will be posting more updates about Brainscapes after its release and as more reviews and associated interviews are posted. For now, I want to share a few links to early reviews of Brainscapes, as well as information about two virtual launch events for the book organized with indie book stores. I hope you will join me for one of the events and learn about the book and your own brainscapes.

Here are the upcoming events. . . .

Brainscapes Event, The Novel Neighbor, June 16, 7:00-8:00 PM Central

Brainscapes Event, Seminary Co-op, June 29, 6:00-7:00 PM Central

Here is a recent interview about the book for the Smart People Podcast

And here are a few early reviews of the book . . .

“Neuroscientist Schwarzlose debuts with a fascinating deep-dive into the “remarkable maps” in the human brain. . . . This is deeply enjoyable and thoroughly researched—science-minded readers should take note.”
Publishers Weekly starred review

“The scope of the book is staggering, as is the potential of technology’s role in decoding minds, and yet Schwarzlose successfully and enthusiastically relays the research in relevant, understandable, and absorbing language.”—Kirkus

“This potentially dense and impenetrable subject is illuminated and rendered comprehensible in Schwarzlose’s skilled hands. A fascinating in-depth exploration of the maps contained within our brains. Recommended for science lovers.”Library Journal

The Act of Falling

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Facing the future with another hand in yours. Photograph by Stephanie Bassos.

 

I recently had the honor and pleasure of reading something at the wedding of two wonderful people: my dear brother-in-law Arvin and his remarkable (now) wife Erica. It was a beautiful and very special ceremony.

My reading was a . . . something (essay? prose poem?) that I wrote for the occasion. In writing it, I was inspired by the couple and their loving ease and flexibility, both together and with extended family. My other inspiration was a cool scientific paper describing the End of History Illusion.

And so, with love and congratulations to happy couple, I am posting the something that they inspired me to write.

Here is a psychological fact: we realize how much we have changed in the past, but we are blind to all of the changing we have left to do. This is as true at 75 as it is at 17. We cannot comprehend that we are each perpetually becoming someone new. It is hard to believe, hard to accept. You will be many different people in the course of a single life.

But what happens when we meet someone and fall in love? We know ourselves and each other right now, at this moment. And we are ready to take this moment forward to forever. But there is a catch. You are not done becoming you and I am not done becoming me. Today is a still-frame but we are movies – unfolding and emerging over time. That is why marriage is a risk, a leap of faith, an act of courage. It is an investment whose return you cannot guarantee.

But sometimes one person finds another, and they fit. Do not call their relationship rock-solid; it is nothing so rigid as that. It is two people who bend and flex, who together weave a future out of cloth and not stone, out of mutual respect and affection, not expectations of permanence or perfection.

Sometimes two people decide to take that leap and to invest in each other, to change and grow together and to commit to honesty and love. Just as a parent can hold a newborn and love all of the people that child might one day grow to be, two people can commit to the certainty of uncertainty, to loving what they have not yet become.

People say that marriage is a balancing act, but it is nothing so contained or so ordinary. It is the act of falling, but of choosing to fall together. It is choosing to create and adapt and sometimes falter and fight because you will have the remarkable privilege of evolving together and of loving the many different people that you will both turn out to be. It is a choice to face an unknown future with another hand in yours. To grow up, or grow out, or grow old – but to grow, and to always keep growing together.

Podcast Interview on Writing Review Articles (Bonus: Grandmother Orcas)

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Photo by Robert Pittman, public domain

I was recently interviewed for the Cell Press Podcast about a post I wrote for CrossTalk, the Cell Press blog. The post was a how-to for scientists who want to write a review article that people will actually read.

Awesomely, people actually read the post too. It quickly became one of the most read posts of 2016, even though it appeared in mid-December. I was delighted by the enthusiastic response and equally delighted to discuss these ideas further for the podcast.

My interview comes at 17:10 in the podcast. Find it after post-menopausal killer whales and the vaginal microbiome! You can also listen here:

Hiatus and Announcement

It has been a month and a half since I last posted. For those of you who might have wondered, I didn’t die and I haven’t been kidnapped. I’ve been preparing to move to Boston for a new job. In early July, I will start as the new editor of Trends in Cognitive Sciences at Cell Press. I’m excited to take the helm of a journal that I have loved reading for many years.

Of course, editors aren’t known for having loads of free time and I don’t expect to be able to blog frequently once my new job begins. I hope to make occasional posts and I certainly hope you will visit me here, on Twitter, and soon in the pages of TiCS. Thank you for reading and please stay in touch!

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