This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of the many contributions of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who is considered the father of modern neuroscience. He published almost 300 articles and several books of great importance, such as the classics Textura del Sistema Nervioso del Hombre y de los Vertebrados (1899-1904) and Estudios Sobre la Degeneración y Regeneración del Sistema Nervioso (1913-1914). He also received numerous awards and distinctions, including some of the most prestigious awards of his time: the Moscow Award (1900); the Helmholtz Gold Medal (1905); and the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (1906). The chapter then goes on to discuss why scientists often referred to trees and forests in their descriptions of the brain and, in particular, of the cerebral cortex, and how these neuronal forests served as an unlimited source of artistic and poetic inspiration to many scientists.
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