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Lewis Wolpert is a distinguished developmental biologist, and is Emeritus Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College, London. He is the author of, among others, The Unnatural Nature of Science and Malignant Sadness, which was described by Anthony Storr as 'the most objective short account of all the various approaches to depression'. His most recent book, You're Looking Very Well, was published in 2011.
Why are there two sexes? How different are they and why? Why can't a woman be more like a man? Or should the question be: why can't a man be more like a woman? Controversy rages around sex and gender, but just what are the differences and how are they determined? Lewis Wolpert, distinguished scientist, broadcaster and author, has tackled depression, religion and old age from a developmental biologist's perspective. Now he enters the gender debate, starting with his argument that men are fundamentally modified females - if the genes present at fertilisation did not do their job properly, we would all be women - and journeying through MRI techniques, the nature of sexual attraction, 'neurosexism' and whether men are really better at maths. With fresh and persuasive research and with his customary intelligence and curiosity, Lewis Wolpert sets out to make his mark on this controversial topic - and makes some surprising discoveries along the way.
Cells are the basis of all life in the universe. Our bodies are made up of billions of them: an incredibly complex society that governs everything, from movement to memory and imagination. When we age, it is because our cells slow down; when we get ill, it is because our cells mutate or stop working. In How We Live and Why we Die, Wolpert provides a clear explanation of the science that underpins our lives. He explains how our bodies function and how we derived from a single cell - the embryo. He examines the science behind the topics that are much discussed but rarely understood - stem-cell research, cloning, DNA - and explains how all life evolved from just one cell. Lively and passionate, How We Live and Why we Die is an accessible guide to understanding the human body and, essentially, life itself.
Why does every society around the world have a religious tradition of some sort? Professor Lewis Wolpert investigates the nature of belief and its causes. He looks at belief's psychological basis and its possible evolutionary origins in physical cause and effect. Wolpert explores the different types of belief - including that of animals, of children, of the religious, and of those suffering from psychiatric disorders. And he asks whether it is possible to live without belief at all, or whether it is a necessary component of a functioning society.
'An excellent book, the most objective short account I know of all the various approaches to depression.' Anthony Storr Several years ago, Lewis Wolpert had a severe episode of depression. Despite a happy marriage and successful scientific career, he could think only of suicide. When he did recover, he became aware of the stigma attached to depression - and just how difficult it was to get reliable information. With characteristic candour and determination he set about writing this book, an acclaimed investigation into the causes and treatments of depression, which formed the basis for a BBC TV series. This paperback edition features a new introduction, in which Wolpert discusses the reaction to his book and BBC series, and recounts his own recurring struggle with depression.
The popular stereotype of the scientist as mad boffin or weedy nerd has been peddled widely in film and fiction, with the implication that the world of science is far removed from the intellectual and emotional messiness of other human activities. In Passionate Minds, distinguished scientist Lewis Wolpert investigates the style and motivation of some of the most eminent scientists in the world. In this stimulating collection of conversations, scientists in fields as diverse as particle physics and evolutionary biology explore how their backgrounds have shaped their careers and discoveries - how being an outsider or an innocent can play an invaluable role in overcoming conventional barriers to new understanding. Being a little crazy does seem to help. As Nobel laureate for physics Sheldon Glashow says, If you would simply take all the kookiest ideas of the early 1970s and put them together you would have made for yourself the theory which is, in fact, the correct theory of nature, so it was like madness... These personal explorations with individual scientists are not only accessible and truly fascinating in their insights into the minds of some of the greatest men and women of science, but they also provide a strong case that the life and works of our leading scientists are at least as illuminating and interesting as the personalities of the latest literary prizewinners. A sequel to A Passion for Science, this book will delight and intrigue scientists and non-scientists alike.