United Academics Magazine Feb. 2012

Page 35

The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World

Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships

‘The Philosophical Breakfast Club’ was not extraordinary for being a club. The astounding thing was that it was made up of four extraordinary men who would change the face of science.

She had two orgasms in an MRI-scanner in the name of science. Kayt Sukel, author of ‘Dirty Minds’ left no stone unturned to write this book about love and sex.

Laura J. Snyder

These four lifelong friends were Charles Babbage (inventor of the first computer), John Herschel (who mapped the skies of the Southern Hemisphere and contributed to the invention of photography) William Whewell (who founded the fields of crystallography, mathematical economics, and the science of tides) and Richard Jones (who shaped the science of economics)– first met at Oxford, where Herschel hosted, in 1812 and 1813, what we would now call Sunday brunches during which the conversation touched on every aspect of science, religion and society. All of them admired Francis Bacon’s inductive method, which depended on data to form overarching theories. Their impact of their accomplishments on modern science are striking, Whewell even coined the term “scientist”. His definition of the word; “an individual who combines intellect and verifiable facts to reach conclusions that can be replicated and verified by others” still stands today.

Kayt Sukel

Is love addictive? What roles do oxytocin, dopamine and testosterone play in our lives? What does the brain tell us about homosexuality? With ‘Dirty Minds’ Kayt Sukel seeks to explain love and relationships on a scientific level. By using human MRI studies and animal research on dogs, monkeys, and monogamous prairie voles, Sukel has thoroughly researched the subject. A few surprises from the book: according to one study Sukel cites, women are more likely to experience an orgasm with partners they aren’t seriously involved with. A second one states that women rated pornographic images as subjectively more sexually arousing than men did. About her own contribution to science, she says: “People ask me: ‘How on Earth did you manage it?’ The simple answer: keeping as still as humanly possible. If you move too much during an MRI you can compromise the data.” as still as humanly possible. If you move too much during an MRI you can compromise the data.”


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