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BEGLEY, Sharon (Lynn) 1956-

PERSONAL:

Born June 14, 1956, in Englewood, NJ; daughter of John Joseph and Shirley (Wintner) Begley; married Edward Groth III, July 24, 1983; children: Sarah, Daniel. Education: Yale University, B.A., 1977.

ADDRESSES:

OfficeWall Street Journal, World Financial Center, 200 Liberty St., New York, NY 10281. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER:

Journalist. Newsweek, New York, NY, editorial assistant, 1977-79, assistant science editor, 1979-80, associate science editor, 1980-83, general science editor, 1983-96, senior science editor, 1996-2002; Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, science editor, 2002—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Global Award for Media Excellence, Population Institute, and Benjamin Fine Award, National Association of Secondary School Principals, both 1990, both for "We Fowled Our Nest"; National Magazine Award nomination, American Society of Magazine Editors, 1991; Deadline Club Award for Public Service Reporting, 1991, for "How to Teach Our Kids"; Aviation/Space Writers Association Premier Award, 1993, for "Doomsday Science"; Educational Press Association's Distinguished Achievement Award, 1994, for "The Puzzle of Genius"; Clarion Award, Association for Women in Communications, for "Your Child's Brain."

WRITINGS:

(With Collette Dowling and Anne Marie Cunningham) The Techno/Peasant Survival Manual, Bantam Dell Publishing Group (New York, NY), 1980.

(Author of introduction) Michael Reagan, editor, The Hand of God: Thoughts and Images Reflecting the Spirit of the Universe, Templeton Foundation Press (Radnor, PA), 2001.

(Author of introduction) Michael Reagan, editor, Inside the Mind of God: Images and Words of Inner Space, Templeton Foundation Press (Radnor, PA), 2002.

(With Jeffrey M. Schwartz) The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force, Regan Books (New York, NY), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS:

Sharon Begley's articles and cover stories appeared in Newsweek for over a decade, and her scientific pieces frequently appear in Wall Street Journal. Begley is also the coauthor of several books, including The Techno/Peasant Survival Manual and The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force.

Begley collaborated with Collette Dowling and Anne Marie Cunningham to produce The Techno/Peasant Survival Manual, which was published in 1980. This book is an early primer designed to aid the timid, uninformed majority of people—the "techno/peasants"—in understanding some aspects of the modern technological world, such as computers, genetic engineering, and nuclear fusion and weapons. In addition to a description of these technologies, the authors attempt to explain the scientific principles underlying them and to show the far-reaching social implications which might result from the use of such technologies. A. Douglas Stone of Technology Review felt that the book "should be quite informative to the layperson" but would be "too superficial and imprecise" for someone with more scientific and technical knowledge. Stone concluded by calling The Techno/Peasant Survival Manual "amusing light reading on contemporary technology."

In 2002 Begley and Jeffrey Schwartz published their joint work, The Mind and the Brain. Schwartz, a psychiatrist, is an expert in the treatment of individuals suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). He and Begley describe Schwartz's approach to treating OCD, which includes relabeling, reattributing, refocusing, and revaluing. The Buddhist principle of "mindful attention" also underlies this method. This four-step therapy has proven to be quite successful, and, according to William A. Dembski in a review for First Things, through it Schwartz learned that his patients were actually "able to reorganize their brains by intentionally modifying their thoughts and behaviors."

As the work progresses, the authors show how the traditional views of neuroplasticity are erroneous. For many years, scientists believed that a human being's neural circuitry was completely fixed during childhood, but more recent studies show that the brain retains its plasticity throughout its lifetime. This is an important discovery, inasmuch as it implies that it is possible to treat diseases previously considered to be incurable. "Schwartz and Begley's description of [neuroplastic research] …is worth the price of the book," Dembski wrote in First Things. The critic stated, "The Mind and the Brain is strongest where it reviews current neurological research." In a Booklist review, William Beatty called the work "a book that thoughtful readers will enjoy." A Publishers Weekly critic noted that the results of Schwartz's research "are exciting and deserve widespread attention."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 2002, William Beatty, review of The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force, p. 282.

First Things, May, 2003, William A. Dembski, review of The Mind and the Brain, pp. 58-63.

Publishers Weekly, September 23, 2002, review of The Mind and the Brain, p. 64.

Technology Review, July, 1981, A. Douglas Stone, review of The Techno/Peasant Survival Manual, pp. 17-18.

ONLINE

Templeton Foundation Press Web site,http://www.templetonpress.org/ (January 17, 2003).*

Begley, Sharon (Lynn) 1956-

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