Wednesday: Wang Welcomes You to Your Brain

Sam Wang is one of the smartest, funniest, scientists you’ll ever meet. At least I think so — I’ve not met him, only talked to him on the phone, but he’s been interviewed all over the place, nationally, and he talks smart and funny and also blogs that way (

Plus his topic matters to us. Both you and I care about our brains, and Wang co-authored a book, “Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Keys But Never Forget How To Drive And Other Mysteries Of Everyday Life.” which tells things you need to know, whether you are a parent with growing children or, like me, a grandparent who is not Going Gently Into That Good Night. Engagingly written for the general reader, reissued in paperback in December, it won the American Association for the Advancement of Science prize as the best science book for young adults.

Wang will speak at a Princeton Chamber breakfast on Wednesday, February 18, at 7:30 a.m. (program starts at 8) at the Nassau Club, 6 Mercer Street, Princeton. Cost: $30 ($20 if you are a member of Princeton United Methodist Church or are otherwise a member of the chamber). Register at 609-924-1776 or go to or email me for questions ( It’s not too late to sign up!

Here are some Welcome To Your Brain myth busters:

Playing classical music to babies doesn’t help their development. (Sorry, Baby Einstein).

Moderate drinking does not destroy brain cells.

Exercise, not puzzles, helps retain brain cells at any age.

To hear better on a cell phone, cover the mouthpiece, not your other ear

Vaccines don’t cause autism.

Wang got lots of coverage recently for his views on left handedness. He notes that southpaws have a better chance to be president of the United States than we right handers: “Six of the 12 chief executives since the end of World War II have been left-handed: Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, the elder Bush, Clinton and Obama,” writes Wang.”That’s a disproportionate number, considering that only one in 10 people in the general population is left-handed.”

Wan is a graduate of Cal Tech and Stanford and has lots of scientific mojo, as seen in his lab’s blog. But he is also a man after my own heart because, judging from the photo, he is a smart guy with a messy desk. Messy desks are my specialty. I’m eager to hear what that says about my brain.

2 thoughts on “Wednesday: Wang Welcomes You to Your Brain

  1. So I went to hear him and he was as billed, terrific. Catherine Hirsch of Music Together must have been pleased to hear that babies don’t get smarter from listening to classical music, but they do get smarter from participating in music. Ed Tseng, author of “Game. Set. Life. Peak Performance for Sports and Life,” was surely happy to hear the scientist’s opinion that, though will power is a finite resource, will power can be trained..bff.

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