Are we our brains? How can you map the mind? Can brain scans read our minds?
Based on Rob Newman’s live stand-up show and new BBC Radio 4 series, his thought-provoking new book explores the scientific breakthroughs that have turned received ideas of brain science upside down.
After imagining volunteering for a brain-imaging experiment meant to locate the part of the brain that lights up when you’re in love, comedian Robert Newman emerged with more questions than answers.
In Neuropolis Newman argues that the current claim that the brain is just a complicated computer derives from science, but from a combination of philosophical stowaways and a version of evolutionary biology that owes little to Darwin. He questions why brain science is devoted to such a peculiarly reductionist world view, when really exciting advances in neuroscience go untold, such as awe-inspiring discoveries about the origins of memory in ancient oceans. He also shows that our brains are inextricably and profoundly intertwined with our bodies, the natural world and the world we have made, including hilarious accounts of his own participation in neurological experiments.
Debunking the common, even brainless interpretations of brain science, he celebrates the more intriguing and underreported advances in neuroscience with zest and wit.
Praise for Rob Newman:
‘Dissing bad science, capitalists and Brian Cox, Newman’s low-octane cabinet of neuroscientific curiosities has nonconformist bite’ Guardian
‘A fascinating and highly original book, the sort you pick up idly and then discover that two hours have gone by’ The Spectator
‘Newman combines proper scientific argument with dazzling shafts of wit’ The Times
'The Brain Show is a delight' The Daily Telegraph
‘Scalpel-sharp analysis … very funny’ The Psychologist
‘Hilarious … delightfully eccentric … skilfully done’ Nature
‘He is one amazing comedian’ Time Out
About the author
Robert Newman has written six books including the novels The Trade Secret and The Fountain at the Centre of the World. His previous book The Entirely Accurate Encyclopaedia of Evolution was made into a radio series which won a BBC Audio Drama Award in 2017 for Best Scripted Comedy. He has been a stand-up comedian for thirty years and has performed to sell-out crowds from London to Paris to Texas. His most recent stand-up show is The Brain Show.