Giorgio A. Ascoli

Giorgio A. Ascoli is University Professor in the Molecular Neuroscience Department and founding Director of the Center for Neural Informatics, Structure, and Plasticity at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University.

  • Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind

    Trees of the Brain, Roots of the Mind

    Giorgio A. Ascoli

    An examination of the stunning beauty of the brain's cellular form, with many color illustrations, and a provocative claim about the mind-brain relationship.

    The human brain is often described as the most complex object in the universe. Tens of billions of nerve cells-tiny tree-like structures—make up a massive network with enormous computational power. In this book, Giorgio Ascoli reveals another aspect of the human brain: the stunning beauty of its cellular form. Doing so, he makes a provocative claim about the mind-brain relationship.

    If each nerve cell enlarged a thousandfold looks like a tree, then a small region of the nervous system at the same magnified scale resembles a gigantic, fantastic forest. This structural majesty—illustrated throughout the book with extraordinary color images—hides the secrets behind the genesis of our mental states. Ascoli proposes that some of the most intriguing mysteries of the mind can be solved using the basic architectural principles of the brain. After an overview of the scientific and philosophical foundations of his argument, Ascoli links mental states with patterns of electrical activity in nerve cells, presents an emerging minority opinion of how the brain learns from experience, and unveils a radically new hypothesis of the mechanism determining what is learned, what isn't, and why. Finally, considering these notions in the context of the cosmic diversity within and among brains, Ascoli offers a new perspective on the roots of individuality and humanity.

    • Hardcover $35.00


  • Modeling Biology

    Modeling Biology

    Structures, Behaviors, Evolution

    Manfred D. Laubichler and Gerd B. Müller

    Experts examine new modeling strategies for the interpretation of biological data and their integration into the conceptual framework of theoretical biology, detailing approaches that focus on morphology, development, behavior, or evolution.

    Abstract and conceptual models have become an indispensable tool for analyzing the flood of highly detailed empirical data generated in recent years by advanced techniques in the biosciences. Scientists are developing new modeling strategies for analyzing data, integrating results into the conceptual framework of theoretical biology, and formulating new hypotheses. In Modeling Biology, leading scholars investigate new modeling strategies in the domains of morphology, development, behavior, and evolution. The emphasis on models in the biological sciences has been accompanied by a new focus on conceptual issues and a more complex understanding of epistemological concepts. Contributors to Modeling Biology discuss models and modeling strategies from the perspectives of philosophy, history, and applied mathematics. Individual chapters discuss specific approaches to modeling in such domains as biological form, development, and behavior. Finally, the book addresses the modeling of these properties in the context of evolution, with a particular emphasis on the emerging field of evolutionary developmental biology (or evo-devo).

    ContributorsGiorgio A. Ascoli, Chandrajit Bajaj, James P. Collins, Luciano da Fontoura Costa, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Nigel R. Franks, Scott Gilbert, Marta Ibañes Miguez, Juan Carlos Izpisúa-Belmonte, Alexander S. Klyubin, Thomas J. Koehnle, Manfred D. Laubichler, Sabina Leonelli, James A. R. Marshall, George R. McGhee Jr., Gerd B. Müller, Chrystopher L. Nehaniv, Karl J. Niklas, Lars Olsson, Eirikur Palsson, Daniel Polani, Diego Rasskin Gutman, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Alexei V. Samsonovich, Jeffrey C. Schank, Harry B. M. Uylings, Jaap van Pelt, Iain Werry

    • Hardcover $11.75
    • Paperback $40.00