Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain

Werner R. Loewenstein. Basic, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-465-02984-6
Loewenstein (The Touchstone of Life), emeritus professor of biophysics at Columbia University, describes his premise clearly and concisely: “consciousness has a physics explanation.” Unfortunately, his elucidation of this point gets lost in arcane details, complex writing, and metaphors run amok. The book’s first half explores the limits of information transfer in biological systems, while the second half discusses computational processes at the traditional and quantum levels. The link between brain function and evolution is, at best, opaque, and the author’s incessant use of the term “demons” to refer to catalyzing macromolecules (in honor of the nomenclature proffered by James Maxwell in 1871 to describe hypothetical beings who were able to create “order from chaos”) makes it hard to take him seriously. Credibility is further strained by the regular anthropomorphization of evolution; indeed, Loewenstein refers to the process as a female with very specific desires. Writing about the Pacinian corpuscle, a sense organ, he writes: “So we can see it now—that tuning gives away Evolution’s game. It was... biologically meaningful mechanical information... that she was after when she engineered that stupendous little capsule.” Loewenstein’s attempt to blend serious data with the accessible tropes of pop science is an unwieldy mess. 65 b&w illus. Agent: Jim Levine, Levine Greenberg. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2012
Release date: 01/01/2013
Show other formats
FORMATS
Book - 353 pages - 978-0-465-03397-3
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4690-8623-1
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-31254-7
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.