Greenfield, Susan 1950–
Greenfield, Susan 1950–
(Susan Adele Greenfield)
PERSONAL: Born October 1, 1950, in England; daughter of Reginald Myer Greenfield (an electrician) and Doris Margaret Winifred (a former chorus girl); married Peter William Atkins (an educator), 1991 (marriage ended 2005). Education: St. Hilda's College, Oxford, M.A., D.Phil. Hobbies and other interests: Aerobics, travel.
ADDRESSES: Home—Oxford, England. Office—University of Oxford, Department of Pharmacology, Mansfield Rd., Oxford OX1 3QT, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: University of Oxford, Oxford, England, Green College, junior research fellow, 1981–84, Lincoln College, tutorial fellow in medicine, 1985–, university lecturer in synaptic pharmacology, 1985–, professor of pharmacology, 1996–; Squibb Projects, deputy director, 1988–95; Gresham College, London, London, England, Gresham chair of physics, 1995–98; Royal Institute of Great Britain, director of Fullerian professor of physiology, 1998–; Institute of La Jolla, La Jolla, CA, visiting fellow in neurosciences, 1995; Queen's University, Belfast, distinguished visiting scholar, 1996; Royal Institute Christmas lecturer, 1994 (first woman to present series); Independent on Sunday, London, columnist, 1996–98; appeared on television series Brain Story, British Broadcasting Corporation, 2000.
AWARDS, HONORS: MRC-INSERM French Exchange fellowship, College de France, 1979–80; named Woman of Distinction of the Year Jewish Care, 1998; named Woman of the Year, London Observer, 2000; honorary fellow, University of Cardiff, 2000; awarded numerous honorary degrees; honorary FRCP, 2000; named baroness of Ot Moor, 2001; named to French Legion of Honor, 2003.
Journey to the Centers of the Mind: Toward a Science of Consciousness, W.H. Freeman (New York, NY), 1995.
The Human Brain: A Guided Tour, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The Private Life of the Brain: Emotions, Consciousness, and the Secret of the Self, John Wiley and Sons (New York, NY), 2000.
Brain Story: Unlocking Our Inner World of Emotions, Memories, Ideas, and Desires, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2001.
Tomorrow's People: How Twenty-first-Century Technology Is Changing the Way We Think and Feel, Allen Lane (London, England), 2003.
Vestigia Veteris Flammae, Classical Association (Sherborne, England), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including London Independent on Sunday, London Times, Times Higher Education Supplement, and London Telegraph.
SIDELIGHTS: An expert in neurochemistry and a professor of pharmacology at Oxford University, Susan Greenfield earned her degrees at St. Hilda's College, Oxford University, then went on to numerous fellowships and research positions both in England and abroad. In addition to earning multiple academic honors, she has also served as director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain since 1998. In addition to her academic duties, Greenfield is a researcher with an interest in both biochemical and electrophysiological aspects of the body, focusing on the study of Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease in particular. She leads a group of eighteen scientists in furthering knowledge in these areas. Her findings appear regularly in academic journals, and she frequently contributes articles to several British publications. In 1998, Green-field was a consultant for a six-week series in the London Sunday Times magazine section that focused on the power of the brain. In 2001, Greenfield was named baroness of Ot Moor, a life peerage, conveyed upon her by Prime Minister Tony Blair. This position allows her membership in the House of Lords, and a political voice to back up many of her scientific endeavors.
Greenfield's writings are varied, but all strive to make her subject accessible to readers outside the scientific community. A BritishCouncil.com contributor noted of Greenfield that, "not only does she talk about the brain so clearly but she also passes on some of the excitement of working with scientific ideas. Susan talks about the brain the way other people talk about fine art or football. It is a thing of endless beauty and fascination." In Journey to the Centers of the Mind: Toward a Science of Consciousness, Greenfield addresses the issue of consciousness from various scientific points of view, including those of the neurologist and the psychiatrist as well as the philosopher. She takes a different approach toward the subject in The Human Mind Explained: An Owner's Guide to the Mysteries of the Mind, which explores how the structure and evolution of the brain might have contributed to the emotions, behavior, and cognition that result from it. She includes illustrations to help clarify the more-confusing physical aspects of her explanation. Elizabeth Adkins-Regan, in a review for the Quarterly Review of Biology, remarked of Green-field's effort that "the book does provide, in an accessible and engaging manner, a glimpse of what is known and a peek at where the frontiers lie."
The Private Life of the Brain: Emotions, Consciousness, and the Secret of the Self focuses on how differently the brain behaves during various functions depending on the person being studied. She looks at the brain of a child, one from a drug user, someone in the midst of a nightmare, and a depressed individual over the course of her study, in order to show how mind and consciousness are interrelated. Lloyd Davidson, in a review for Library Journal, remarked of Greenfield that "her conjectures are neither original nor especially deep, and even together they hardly merit a book-length treatment." However, a Publishers Weekly contributor found the book "a subtle model in everyday language, introducing her readers skillfully to her precedents and rivals in neurobiology and cognitive science," and Booklist reviewer William Beatty wrote that "this is one of those rare books that can make a reader happy to have been led to think."
A contributor to the British Medical Journal reported that "Greenfield was always drawn to science and never tempted to study medicine. When she was young she fainted at the sight of blood, and although she sometimes feels frustrated when she's asked if she's a 'real' doctor, she has no regrets. 'I wanted to be able to use my imagination and to be able to try ideas out and ask the big questions,' she said. 'I don't think that medicine, at the basic level, encourages innovation.' She also fears that she asks too many questions to be able to survive the conventional hierarchy of medicine that exists in the United Kingdom."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2000, William Beatty, review of The Private Life of the Brain: Emotions, Consciousness, and the Secret of the Self, p. 1714.
British Medical Journal, October 26, 1996, Stuart W.G. Derbyshire, review of Journey to the Centers of the Mind: Toward a Science of Consciousness, p. 1090; July 10, 1999, "Scientist, Superwoman, and Sock Drawer Sorter," p. 78; April 14, 2001, Barbara Godlee, review of The Private Life of the Brain, p. 935.
Catalyst, November, 1999, Philip Alan Updates, "Susan Greenfield," p. G.
Chemistry and Industry, August 5, 2002, Kelly Quigley, "The Brain of the Future: Messel Medal and Lecture," p. S2.
Economist, October 11, 2003, "The Way We Are Going: The Future," review of Tomorrow's People: How Twenty-first-Century Technology Is Changing the Way We Think and Feel, p. 84.
Financial Times, June 10, 2003, Ravi Mattu, "The Golden Rule: Susan Greenfield, Neuroscientist, Keep Everybody in the Loop," p. 8.
Lancet, December 12, 1998, Jane Bradbury, "Susan Greenfield: Making the Right Connections," p. 1914.
Library Journal, June 1, 1997, Laurie Bartolini, review of The Human Brain: A Guided Tour, p. 136; May 1, 2000, Lloyd Davidson, review of The Private Life of the Brain, p. 150.
New Statesman, October 6, 2003, Bryan Appleyard, "Ghost Required," review of Tomorrow's People, p. 51.
Publishers Weekly, April 17, 2000, review of The Private Life of the Brain, p. 60.
Quarterly Review of Biology, June, 1998, Elizabeth Adkins-Regan, review of The Human Mind Explained: An Owner's Guide to the Mysteries of the Mind, p. 195.
Report, March 31, 2003, Celeste McGovern, "Pain Problem: When Does a Child Feel It?," p. 38.
WorldLink, March-April, 2001, Andrew Cohen, "Grey Matter: Susan Greenfield Wears a Number of Hats," p. 20.
British Council Web site, http://www.britishcouncil.org/ (September 21, 2005), "Susan Greenfield."
Guardian Online, http://education.guardian.co.uk/ (September 21, 2005), "Susan Greenfield."
Royal Institute of Great Britain Web site, http://www.rigb.org/ (September 21, 2005), "Susan Greenfield."
Social Issues Research Centre Web site, http://www.sirc.org/ (September 21, 2005), "Susan Greenfield."
University of Oxford, Pharmacology Department Web site, http://www.pharm.ox.ac.uk/ (September 21, 2005), "Susan Greefield."