A Lexington Writer’s Life: AUTHOR OF HOW THE BRAIN LOST ITS MIND

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Brian David Burrell, lecturer in mathematics at UMass Amherst and the author of seven books (including Postcards from the Brain Museum: The Improbable Search for Meaning in the Matter of Famous Minds, Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole: Extraordinary Journeys Into the Human Brain, and How the Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness) on subjects ranging from genius to madness to mathematics, from famous brains to mental illness to the words we live by, will describe how the unique experience of growing up in Lexington at a special time in its history spurred his interest in writing, and how a sequence of serendipitous events led him from mathematics into the study of the human brain.

In his three most recent books, two of them with co-author Allan Ropper of Harvard Medical School, Mr. Burrell has focused on how brain morphology and pathology have shaped our received wisdom about human attributes, eccentricities, and aberrations. Specifically, he has delved into historical and current theories about the biological correlates of creativity, criminality, neurosis, and psychosis.

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