Cajal’s Beautiful Brain


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Santiago Ramon y Cajal, acknowledged to be the father of modern neuroscience in this incredible album of his work.  Cajal always maintained that his thought process was based in visual experience and expression.  On page 23: “As a young man, he learned by seeing, observing, and taking things apart, rather than by reading, memorizing, or listening to dry lectures, which he associated with beatings when he wasn’t able to regurgitate information on exams.  ‘My memory was poor for miscellaneous words … but such memory weakness was much diminished when the word and the idea were associated with some clear and vigorous visual perception.'”

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On page 84: “The retina is an integral part of the central nervous system and is composed of the same types of cells as the brain – neurons and glial cells … Cajal wrote: ‘Life never succeeded in constructing a machine so subtly devised and so perfectly adapted to the an end as the visual apparatus’.”

Although he focused on the visual system, Cajal also made detailed observations about The Neuron Doctrine through the central nervous system.  Take a look at his beautiful rendering of the labyrinthe of the inner ear.

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An artist as much as he was a scientist, Cajal’s style may have been influence by Van Gogh, when comparing the former’s depiction of embedded tumor cells in the brain with the latter’s Starry Night.

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Cajal’s cranial nerve depictions within the cerebrum are evocative of a car engine, don’t you think?

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A Nobel Laureate whose work has proven to be timeless, Cajal’s artistry illuminated the brain like no other individual before him, or since …

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