The brain is the most complex object in the known universe and it cannot be understood through words alone.

Modelling the mind with mathematics

3 March 2021

Grace Lindsay authors new book showcasing mathematical tools for understanding the brain

How do 85 billion neurons in the brain communicate to create thoughts, perceptions and actions? This wicked problem requires a diverse array of researchers, but it also requires something more – a language that both enables and captures our increasing understanding of the brain.

In her new book, Models of the Mind, Grace Lindsay, joint SWC-Gatsby Research Fellow, describes how the elegant language of mathematics provides the tools required to understand the machinery of neuroscience.

“The brain is the most complex object in the known universe and it cannot be understood through words alone. In this book, I share how mathematics is allowing us to extend our cognition and form coherent models of the mind.” Grace Lindsay, author of Models of the Mind.

Prof. Larry Abbott quote on Models of the Mind

As a Computational Neuroscientist herself, Grace is well-versed in the challenges of using mathematical tools to model the messy details of biology. In Models of the Mind, Grace elegantly describes the history of mathematical thinking on the study of the brain. In each chapter, she covers a new neuroscience topic, from the physics of single cells up to the complexity of behaviour.

Throughout the book, Grace tells the story not only of mathematics and biology, but of the complex interplay between the two. She also looks to the future and the dream of grand unified theories of the brain. For understanding the most complex object in the known universe, Grace argues mathematical models are not just useful but absolutely essential.

About Models of the Mind

Models of the Mind: How Physics, Engineering and Mathematics Have Shaped Our Understanding of the Brain

Published: 4 March 2021

Hardback; 9781472966421 £16.99 Ebook; 9781472966452

Bloomsbury Sigma

Readers can use code MODELS20 to get 20% off (RRP) at:

Grace Lindsay quotecard

About Grace Lindsay

Grace Lindsay is a joint SWC-Gatsby Research Fellow working in the labs of Maneesh Sahani and Tom Mrsic-Flogel. She got her PhD from Columbia University in the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience. Working in the lab of Ken Miller, she built models of the neural and behavioural correlates of attention. Prior to that she spent a year as a research fellow at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Freiburg, Germany. Before that she got a BS in neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently working on building models of recurrent visual processing.

Media contact: 
April Cashin-Garbutt
Head of Research Communications and Engagement
Sainsbury Wellcome Centre