Anil Ananthaswamy biography

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Anil Ananthaswamy

Anil Ananthaswamy

Anil Ananthaswamy Biography

Anil Ananthaswamy is former deputy news editor and current consultant for New Scientist. He is a guest editor at UC Santa Cruz's renowned science-writing program and teaches an annual science journalism workshop at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. He is a freelance feature editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science's "Front Matter" and has written for National Geographic News, Discover, and Matter. He has been a columnist for PBS NOVA's The Nature of Reality blog. He won the UK Institute of Physics' Physics Journalism award and the British Association of Science Writers' award for Best Investigative Journalism. His first book, The Edge of Physics, was voted book of the year in 2010 by Physics World. He lives in Bangalore, India, and Berkeley, California.

Anil Ananthaswamy's website

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Interview

The author of The Man Who Wasn't There discusses his research into the meaning of the self and how technology is helping us probe this concept further.

What inspired you to examine the self by way of neurological disorders?

I have been interested in the self since my late 20s. It might have something to do with growing up in India, where many major religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, for example) have strong philosophical underpinnings that tackle the question "Who am I?" It's part of my cultural DNA, I guess.

As a writer, I wanted to address the self in a way that was both instructive and novel—for there are already so many good books on the subject. What could I say that hadn't been said before? As I did my research, I found that the debate over whether there is a self or not still persists, but it's a very subtle one. And there are, of course, books talking about the self as an illusion, that it's not real, etc. It's hard for the lay person to get a handle on the crux of the debate. I realized that one could examine the nature of the self—and hence the nature of the debate—by looking at disorders that disturb the self (and some neuroscientists like Todd Feinberg have done just that in their work and writings). Just like we have learned a lot about how the brain functions by studying people who have had strokes and tumors and ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Anil Ananthaswamy at BookBrowse
The Man Who Wasn't There jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Anil Ananthaswamy but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Benedict Carey

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    Benedict Carey is an award-winning science reporter who has been at The New York Times since 2004, and one of the newspaper's most emailed reporters. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor's ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Man Who Wasn't There

    Try:
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  • Robert B. Oxnam

    Robert B. Oxnam

    Robert B. Oxnam is internationally recognized as an Asia specialist and dynamic speaker. He often guides prominent Americans seeking in-depth knowledge of China, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. For more than ten ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Man Who Wasn't There

    Try:
    A Fractured Mind
    by Robert B. Oxnam

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