Annal: 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science & Technology

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2006.

Book:In Search of Memory

In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind

Eric R. Kandel

Charting the intellectual history of the emerging biology of mind, Eric R. Kandel illuminates how behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology have converged into a powerful new science of mind. This science now provides nuanced insights into normal mental functioning and disease, and simultaneously opens pathways to more effective healing.

Driven by vibrant curiosity, Kandel’s personal quest to understand memory is threaded throughout this absorbing history. Beginning with his childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna, In Search of Memory chronicles Kandel’s outstanding career from his initial fascination with history and psychoanalysis to his groundbreaking work on the biological process of memory, which earned him the Nobel Prize.

A deft mixture of memoir and history, modern biology and behavior, In Search of Memory traces how a brilliant scientist’s intellectual journey intersected with one of the great scientific endeavors of the twentieth century: the search for the biological basis of memory.

Book:The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth

The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth

Edward O. Wilson

In this daring work, Edward O. Wilson proposes an alliance between science and religion to save Earth’s vanishing biodiversity.

Dear Pastor:
We have not met, yet I feel I know you well enough to call you friend. First of all, we grew up in the same faith. Although I no longer belong to that faith, I am confident that if we met and spoke privately of our deepest beliefs, it would be in a spirit of mutual respect and goodwill. I write to you now for your counsel and help. Let us see if we can, and you are willing, to meet on the near side of metaphysics in order to deal with the real world we share. I suggest that we set aside our differences in order to save the Creation. The defense of living Nature is a universal value. It doesn’t rise from nor does it promote…[more]
Book:The First Human

The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors

Ann Gibbons

This dynamic chronicle of the race to find the “missing links” between humans and apes transports readers into the highly competitive world of fossil hunting and into the lives of the ambitious scientists intent on pinpointing the dawn of humankind.

The quest to find where and when the earliest human ancestors first appeared is one of the most exciting and challenging of all scientific pursuits. The First Human is the story of four international teams obsessed with solving the mystery of human evolution and of the intense rivalries that propel them.

An award-winning science writer, Ann Gibbons introduces the various maverick fossil hunters and describes their most significant discoveries in Africa. There is Tim White, the irreverent and brilliant Californian whose team discovered the partial skeleton…[more]

Book:The First Scientific American

The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius

Joyce Chaplin

Statesman, diplomat, Founding Father—Benjamin Franklin was all of these things. But it is Franklin’s status as a scientific genius that is the key to understanding him and his world

Famous, fascinating Benjamin Franklin—he would be neither without his accomplishments in science. Joyce Chaplin’s authoritative biography considers all of Franklin’s work in the sciences, showing how, during the rise and fall of the first British empire, science became central to public culture and therefore to Franklin’s success. Having demonstrated in his earliest experiments and observations that he could master nature, Franklin showed the world that he was uniquely suited to solve problems in every realm. In the famous adage, Franklin “snatched lightning from the sky and the scepter from the tyrants”—in that order.

The famous kite and other experiments with electricity were only part of Franklin’s accomplishments. He charted the…[more]

Book:This Is Your Brain on Music

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession

Daniel J. Levitin

A fascinating exploration of the relationship between music and the mind—and the role of melodies in shaping our lives.

Whether you load your iPod with Bach or Bono, music has a significant role in your life——even if you never realized it. Why does music evoke such powerful moods? The answers are at last becoming clear, thanks to revolutionary neuroscience and the emerging field of evolutionary psychology. Both a cutting-edge study and a tribute to the beauty of music itself, This Is Your Brain on Music unravels a host of mysteries that affect everything from pop culture to our understanding of human nature, including:

  • Are our musical preferences shaped in utero?
  • Is there a cutoff point for acquiring new tastes in music? …[more]
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