ANIL ANANTHASWAMY is a consultant editor for New Scientist. He has been with the magazine since 2000, including as a staff writer and deputy news editor, and has written more than 400 news and features articles. He has also written for National Geographic News, Discover magazine, The Times Online (UK) and the Independent (UK) and is a columnist for PBS NOVA’s The Nature of Reality blog. He studied electronics, electrical and computer engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and the University of Washington, Seattle, and worked as a software engineer in Silicon Valley before training as a journalist in the University of California Santa Cruz’s renowned science-writing programme. Now a guest lecturer on that programme, he also teaches an annual science journalism workshop at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. He lives in Bangalore and California.
MALADIES OF THE SELF
From Autism to Out-of-Body Experiences – What Mental Disorders Are Telling Us About Who We Are
In MALADIES OF THE SELF, Anil Ananthaswamy sets out to disentangle the tightly woven threads that form our identity and to provide a new view of the self. In each chapter, he examines the self through the lens of a psychiatric or neurological disorder and reveals some sliver of the self excised by the disorder, often leaving in its wake a devastating illness. In ‘body integrity identity disorder’, for instance, the disturbance causes you to feel that a part of your body is foreign and needs to be amputated; in Alzheimer’s disease, the autobiographical self is fossilized; and in depersonalization disorder and Cotard’s syndrome, sufferers experience deep crises of identity that cause them to question their very existence. These disorders perturb different aspects of the self, such as sense of ownership or sense of agency, and so shed light on how these attributes make up our sense of self.
From schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy to Alzheimer’s disease and out-of-body experiences, Ananthaswamy introduces readers to the regions of the brain responsible for these and other maladies of the self as well as to the greatest thinkers, philosophers and neuroscientists who have pondered the nature of personal identity. All this is grounded in the author’s first-person accounts of people who suffer from disorders of the self. He meets, for example, an athletic man in perfectly good health, and with no signs of irrationality or psychosis, who submits himself to a voluntary amputation of a leg that he felt did not belong to him. Heartbreaking stories such as this provide strong clues to how the brain constructs our sense of self, and the trauma that ensues when the process goes awry. Together they provide a unique take on that perennial question, ‘Who am I?’
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Length: 75,000 words
All rights available excluding:
World English Language (Dutton), Germany (Eichborn)
THE EDGE OF PHYSICS
An accomplished and timely overview of modern cosmology and particle astrophysics. Ananthaswamy’s characterizations of the many physicists he meets are on the mark... Conveys that cutting-edge science is a human endeavour – NATURE
Ananthaswamy, a science writer and editor, smoothly weaves together the stories of people who help push science forward, from principal investigators to research institute gardeners, with exquisitely clear explanations of the questions they hope to solve – and why some research can be done only at the edge of the world – SCIENCE NEWS
An intrepid journalist takes us from desolate deserts to derelict mines to answer some of the most burning questions in physics today.
Physics is in crisis. For more than two centuries, our understanding of the laws of nature expanded rapidly. But in the past few decades, we’ve made astonishingly little progress. What will finally break the impasse and get physics back on track?
In this timely and original book, science writer Anil Ananthaswamy sets out in search of the world’s most audacious physics experiments: the telescopes and detectors that promise to shed new light on such things as dark matter, dark energy and the phenomenon of quantum gravity (which string theory tries to explain). He soon finds himself at the ends of the Earth – in cold and remote and sometimes dangerous places. As it turns out, extreme physics requires extreme environments.
Publisher: Duckworth (UK)/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US)
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