Scenes of Thought: The Brain in Pictures

From New Scientist

November 5, 2010

What does your mind look like? A new book, Portraits of the Mind by Carl Schoonover, looks at how scientists have visualised the brain through the centuries.

An excerpt: In 1875 the physician Camillo Golgi invented the reazione nera (black reaction) cell-staining technique, which allowed anatomists to view individual neurons in their entirety for the first time. Potassium dichromate and silver nitrate are added to preserved nervous tissue, and the neurons become visible as tiny silver chromate crystals form inside the cells.

Golgi used the technique to make detailed neuronal maps, such as this drawing of a dog's olfactory bulb, made in the year he discovered the reaction. The technique became widely known as "Golgi's method" and marks the beginning of modern neuroscience.

View the slideshow

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons.

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