Richard Cytowic

Richard E. Cytowic, MD, MFA is best known for bringing synesthesia back to mainstream science after decades of obscurity. Synesthesia is the involuntary coupling of senses wherein a sound, for example, is seen or tasted as well as heard. First rediscovered 35 years ago, the phenomenon is now appreciated as fundamental to our notions of how the human brain is organized.

The neurologist holds an MFA in creative writing from American University. He received a Pulitzer nomination for his New York Times magazine cover story about James Brady, the Press Secretary shot in the head during the assassination attempt on President Reagan. Among Dr. Cytowic’s six books, Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia won the 2011 Montaigne Medal.

Dr. Cytowic is a fellow of the Southampton Writers Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Hambidge Center. Speaking venues include the Library of Congress, the Hirshhorn Museum, NASA colloquia, and the Smithsonian Institution. Media appearances include “Good Morning America,” “60 Minutes,” “National Geographic,” NPR, and BBC documentaries about synesthesia.

Book Reviews by Richard Cytowic

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“Just in time to address those extra holiday pounds comes a practical guide to natural sugars and artificial sweeteners that explodes some long-held myths along the way.”

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“Taste happens in our head, not in our mouth, and the art of the table today is as robust as it was in the 18th century.”

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“Fast computers coupled with biological knowledge can let us understand the workings of a wedge of actual brain tissue.

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“If you wear clogs, recycle diapers, and think it is fun to live in a hovel then this book is for you. Otherwise, the going is iffy.”

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“A deeply felt story of human survival; of friendship that endures and abides the twists of fate; and the ability to see beauty in the world as it is, no matter what degradation of the plan

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“Our minds were designed to succeed in an environment utterly unlike the information overload we now face.

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“For some readers the science of Red Joan will resonate; for others, the politics will hold their interest; othe

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“What a delight when a writer hits his target as deftly and with such beauty as Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt does in Invisible Love.”

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“An eyewitness to the discovery of Tutankhamun, but also to a secret hidden for decades: That Lord Carnarvon broke into the tomb before the official opening and removed articles for his per

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“Generations are more different from each other now than at any time in living memory.

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“In this book religion is actually the MacGuffin, the object in a suspense story that sets up the plot and keeps the chain of events in motion . .

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“The world is a better place for Dr. Churchland’s efforts and her curiosity.”

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“. . . about the innate knack everyone has to reason about the minds of others. . . .

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How this book is supposed to impress intelligent readers is only something that publicity managers can imagine.

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“We are not observers on the outside looking in. We are on the inside too.”

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“Everything we can touch and all that we are is made of the most beautiful geometric patterns.”

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“To live one’s life as an artist is to dream of immortality.”

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“Until one understands what incentives motive people, it is impossible to predict how new policies will actually work.”

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“Our lives are built almost entirely on a foundation of events colliding.”

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“Everyone dwells in one past or another, and to a greater or lesser extent, is ruled by it.”

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“. . . delivers nothing close to an understanding of how [Dawkins] came to be the popular scientist . . .”

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“The Goliath Stone is brain candy, a fast read, and surely a sci-fi fan pleaser. Good for the beach or the hammock.”