2009 Winner: Young Adult Science Book

Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life, by Sandra Aamodt & Sam Wang. Bloomsbury, 2008.

The neuroscientist authors offer a highly accessible and richly informative "user's guide" to our brains. They cover a broad range of topics, offering up-to-date information directed to answering questions of the curious public. They supplement their charming narrative with frequent and quite extensive sidebars that debunk myths, focus on specific issues, and offer practical tips. Eschewing didactical lecturing, their friendly and informal writing effectively engages the reader in a comfortable, interesting, and informative dialog.

About the Authors

Sandra Aamodt

Sandra Aamodt received her undergraduate degree in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and her doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Rochester. After four years of postdoctoral research at Yale University, she joined Nature Neuroscience in 1998 and was editor in chief from 2003 to 2008. During her editorial career, she read over 3000 neuroscience papers and wrote dozens of editorials on neuroscience and science policy for the journal. Currently, she is sailing the South Pacific, though most of the time she lives with her husband, a professor of neuroscience, in California.

Sam Wang

Sam Wang is an associate professor at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. He graduated with honor in physics from the California Institute of Technology and holds a doctorate in neuroscience from Stanford University School of Medicine. His career includes research at Duke University Medical Center and at Bell Labs Lucent Technologies. He has also done science and education policy work for the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources. He has published fifty scientific articles on brain function. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award and is an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and a W.M. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Scholar. In addition to his research, in 2004 he developed a new method for understanding presidential election polls using statistical meta-analysis that has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and other national media. He is co-author of Welcome to Your Brain, which has been published in the US and UK, and has 17 planned translations. He and his family live in Princeton, New Jersey.