Golgi: A Biography of the Founder of Modern Neuroscience

Hardcover (Print)


This book is a complete biography of Camillo Golgi one of the most prominent European researcher between the Nineteenth and the Twentieth century, a period of dramatic scientific development. The life of Golgi was an extraordinary intellectual adventure in three major fields of biology and medicine, namely the neuroscience, the emerging cell biology and the new science of medical microbiology. In 1873 Golgi published the description of a revolutionary histological technique which allowed, for the first time, to visualize a single nerve cell with all its ramification which could be followed and analyzed even at a great distance from the cell bodies, the so called "black reaction" (later named the "Golgi method"). This invention provided the spark to a truly scientific revolution which allowed the morphology and the basic architecture of the cerebral tissue to be evidenced in all its complexity, thus contributing to the foundation of the modern neuroscience. It has been written that, in the same way Galileo Galilei was able to find new stars observing with his telescope any sky region, Golgi was able to find new nervous structures and nerve cells by applying his black reaction to any brain region. Finally, the details of the most complex structure in the known universe, the brain, could be characterized. Golgi also strongly contributed to the development of cell biology with the discovery of one of the major organelles of the cell, the "internal reticular apparatus" (later named the "Golgi apparatus" or the "Golgi complex" or simply nullthe Golginull) and to medical microbiology with his description of the human malaria parasitic development inside the red blood cells (Golgi cycle). He was also a prominent political figure who deeply influenced the Nineteenth century development of science in Italy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Paolo Mazzarello's masterful Golgi: A Biography of the Founder of Modern Neuroscience is testimony to the value of such a project...But at his death, Golgi would have known that his life's achievement would stand the test of time. Mazzarello too has made something of which to be proud." —The Lancet

"This book should be in the library of every department of neurology and neuroscience for residents and students to acquire understanding of the advancements that Golgi and his disciples made to neuroscience." —American Academy of Neurology

"...it was a real pleasure to read Paolo Mazzarello's outstanding book devoted to the life and career of Camillo Golgi, an Italian scientist considered the founder of neuroscience...The book format is pleasing and the print easy to read..The book stimulates the reader's imagination, bringing him in at the dawn of a fascinating branch of the discipline of neuroscience, and serves as an excellent introduction and references source. This reviewer strongly recommends the book to neurosurgeons, residents, and medical students who are interested in the scientific underpinning of our specialty." —WORLD NEUROSURGERY

"Mazzarello has given us a remarkable story that, unlike any previous publication, puts the disagreement between Golgi and Cajal (arguably one of the greatest conflicts in the history of science) into perspective, and that will appeal to a wide audience. the reader will undoubtedly come away with a far greater appreciation for Golgi as one of the greatest scientists in the last 200 years." — Arch Neurol

"As a scientific biography, the book is excellent. It documents all of Golgi's contributions to the study of the nervous system and disease." — Brain

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195337846
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paolo Mazzarello, MD, PhD, is Professor of History of Medicine at the University of Pavia, Italy. He is the author of five books on history of Medicine and science in Eighteenth and Nineteenth century. He has written for Nature, Endeavour and Trends in Neuroscience.

Hometown: Mornese (prov. Alessandria, Italy)

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