April 10, 2012

Author of ‘Incognito’ to deliver Tenney lecture

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- It’s not enough for David Eagleman to be a neuroscientist.  And a director of two research/think tank programs at Baylor College of Medicine.  No, those are just some of his day jobs.  By night, he writes fiction.  And his recent non-fiction book about the brain is a best-seller.

He’s also a sought-after speaker, and he comes to Southern Illinois University Carbondale as part of the Charles D. Tenney Distinguished Lecture Series.

Eagleman will discuss “Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain,” beginning at 7:30 p.m. on April 17 in Student Center Ballroom D.  A reception and book signing immediately follow the lecture.

“Incognito” is about the part of the brain that works even when we don’t know it’s working, the mysterious subconscious.  Everyone has experience with the subconscious seeping into the conscious, whether it’s braking a vehicle moments before danger becomes apparent, or becoming angry with oneself -- to use some of Eagleman’s examples.  He also examines such questions as why those whose names begin with “J” are more likely to marry someone whose name also begins with “J,” and such esoteric questions as what the Greek epic hero Odysseus has to do with the recent subprime mortgage meltdown.

“Incognito” is a New York Times bestseller, and Amazon, Goodreads, the Boston Globe and the Houston Chronicle all named it a Best Book of 2011.  Critics praise the book for its readability in spite of the potential difficulties in subject matter.

The University Honors Program invites speakers to its lecture series to benefit the University community generally, but also to give honors students the opportunity to meet men and women with outstanding accomplishments.  Students in the University Honors Program will have a “breakfast seminar” with Eagleman on April 18. 

The Charles D. Tenney lecture series honors the former University vice president and provost, who served from 1952 to 1971.