Related to: 'The Brain'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

John Murray

We Have No Idea

Jorge Cham, Daniel Whiteson
Authors:
Jorge Cham, Daniel Whiteson

In our small corner of the universe, we know how some matter behaves most of the time and what even less of it looks like, and we have some good guesses about where it all came from. But we really have no clue what's going on. In fact, we don't know what about 95% of the universe is made of. So what happens when a cartoonist and a physicist walk into this strange, mostly unknown universe? Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson gleefully explore the biggest unknowns, why these things are still mysteries, and what a lot of smart people are doing to figure out the answers (or at least ask the right questions). While they're at it, they helpfully demystify many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes. With equal doses of humour and delight, they invite us to see the universe as a vast expanse of mostly uncharted territory that's still ours to explore. This is a book for fans of Brian Cox and What If. This highly entertaining highly illustrated book is perfect for anyone who's curious about all the great mysteries physicists are going to solve next.

Adam Becker

Adam Becker is a science writer with a PhD in astrophysics and an undergraduate degree in philosophy. His writing has appeared in the BBC and New Scientist. He has recorded a video series with the BBC and several podcasts with the Story Collider. He is also a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley's Office for History of Science and Technology. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Alister McGrath

Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, and Fellow of Harris Manchester College, Oxford. After initial academic work in the natural sciences, Alister turned to the study of theology and intellectual history, while occasionally becoming engaged in broader cultural debates about the rationality and relevance of the Christian faith. He is the author of many academic and theological works, as well as the bestselling The Dawkins Delusion and, most recently, his acclaimed C. S. Lewis - A Life.

Andy Cope

Andy describes himself as an author, happiness expert, qualified teacher and learning junkie. He has spent 10 years researching 'positive psychology' culminating in a 'PhD in Happiness' from Loughborough University. He has developed a series of keynotes and courses centreing on themes of happiness and flourishing, which he delivers in businesses and schools across the world. Andy has written several best-selling personal development books, including The Art of Being Brilliant, and is also a best-selling children's author. His Spy Dog series has enjoyed huge global success.

Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes starred in 2017's ratings winning Love Island. With 1.9 million followers on Instagram, a hit single, a bestselling fitness DVD, his own reality TV series and a massive bill boardcampaign for a mental health charity under his belt, he has been on the celebrity fast-track. He grew up on a farm in Gloucestershire in a family offive children.

Christine Wilding

Christine Wilding's (Kent, England) books on CBT have sold over 50,000 copies. She holds a postgraduate diploma in CBT from the University of London, is an accredited member of the British Association of Counselling, is a member of the steering committee set up to develop guidelines for the treatment of depression within the NHS, and is in-demand as a leader of CBT-based training courses.

Jeremy Howick

An Oxford researcher with over 75 publications and a classic textbook, Jeremy Howick is well qualified to write Doctor You. A world-renowned placebo researcher and his work has been featured in The Times and The Washington Post, as well as on Sky News, and the BBC.

Jules Montague

Doctor Jules Montague is a Consultant Neurologist in London, a job she combines with medical work in Mozambique and India each year. Originally from a seaside town in Ireland, Jules studied Medicine at Trinity College, Dublin and moved to London nine years ago.Her clinical sub-specialty is young-onset dementia - patients who develop memory and behavioural changes as early as their 20's. Some of her most challenging work is in the intensive care setting where she sees patients who have suffered catastrophic brain injuries. She writes regularly for the Guardian. Her work has also featured in Granta, Mosaic, Aeon, NME, the Independent, the Verge, the Lancet, and on the BBC. https://www.clippings.me/julesmontague

Karl Sabbagh

Karl Sabbagh is a writer and television producer. He has written on a wide range of non-fiction subjects and his books include The Living Body, Skyscraper, Power into Art, A Rum Affair, Dr. Riemann`s Zeroes, Palestine: A Personal History, Your Case is Hopeless and The Hair of the Dog.

Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Positive Psychology Network, gave the Centennial address to the British Psychological Society in 2002 and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Cardiff. A former President of the American Psychological Association, he has written over 20 books including the bestselling Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness and in 2009 was awarded the British Academy's Wiley Prize in Psychology. He is widely considered the pre-eminent expert on applied psychology in the world.

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, the most recent being The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Monty Don

MONTY DON is a well-known gardening writer and broadcaster. He lives with his family, garden and dogs in Herefordshire. His previous books include the Sunday Times best-seller Nigel and Paradise Gardens.@TheMontyDon/themontydon

Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard

Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard lives in Copenhagen with her family. She is co-founder of Graphicure, a start-up company developing software solutions that empower patients to better understand their disease and manage treatment, and the Danish Science Club, a mentorship network for students and young adults.

Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax is a comedian, writer, performer and mental health campaigner. She has suffered bouts of depression throughout her life and completed her Masters in Mindfulness-based Cognitive therapy at Oxford in 2012.

Rupert Sheldrake

Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than eighty technical papers and ten books, including A New Science of Life. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, where he was Director of Studies in cell biology, and was also a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. From 2005-2010 he was the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project for research on unexplained human abilities, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge. He is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. He is married, has two sons and lives in London. Follow Rupert on Twitter @RupertSheldrake. His web site is www.sheldrake.org

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is the former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and author of A Brief History of Time which was an international bestseller. He is now the Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and Founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge.

Steven Novella

Dr. Steven Novella, host and producer of the popular podcast Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, is an internationally recognized science educator. He brings his academic credentials and long history as a dynamic speaker and educator to the show. Dr. Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine, where he is known for his dedication to excellence in teaching. When not podcasting, he also authors the popular and award-winning NeuroLogica blog, is senior editor of Science-Based Medicine, and makes regular appearances on radio, podcasts, and tv promoting science. He is also the author of two courses for The Great Courses on medical myths and critical thinking.He is joined by his co-writers, Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, and Evan Bernstein, each of whom bring their own personality and knowledge to the show and this book. Together they create a dynamic and engaging group of friends who like discussing cutting-edge science, philosophy, and controversial topics.

Susan Calman

Born in Glasgow, Susan Calman escaped corporate law to become a Stand Up Comedian. She's a regular on radio and television panel shows like QI, The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue and has presented quiz shows The Boss, Armchair Detectives and Top Class. She recently appeared on Strictly Come Dancing where she made it all the way to Week Ten. Even more excitingly she won the Glitterball on the Strictly Live tour. An advocate for LGBTQ and mental health issues, she lives with her wife and cats in Glasgow. susancalman.com@susancalman Insta: officialsusancalman

Tim Grayburn

Tim Grayburn is a man. He's a dad, a brother and a son too. After working in advertising for ten years he quit the rat race to perform around the world in the award-winning show Fake it 'Til You Make It. This is his first book. @TimGrayburn

Tim Radford

Tim Radford joined the New Zealand Herald as a reporter aged sixteen and moved to the UK in 1961. He is a freelance journalist and a founding editor of Climate News Network. He worked for the Guardian for thirty-two years, becoming - among other things - letters editor, arts editor, literary editor and science editor. He won the Association of British Science Writers award for science writer of the year four times and a lifetime achievement award in 2005. He is an honorary Fellow of the British Science Association, and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is the author of The Crisis of Life on Earth: Our Legacy from the Second Millennium and The Address Book: Our Place in the Scheme of Things.