Its almost halloween and the seasonal science continues this week with a look at the science behind everybody’s favorite monsters these days: Zombies. The book Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep takes a scientific approach to why zombies might be the way they are. Now before you think I or the authors of the book really think zombies might come scratching at the front door any night soon let me explain. The authors, Bradley Voytek and Timothy Verstynen, take a Neuroscientific approach to explaining the classic behaviors exhibited by zombies in popular culture. They explore many of the typical behaviors and provide plausible causes for said behaviors in the form of various neurological maladies.
In addition to talking about zombies this book is really a wonderful primer for how the brain functions, what the different parts are, and how they work together to support normal function and behavior as well as abnormal conditions.
Another great seasonal science story is I am Legend by Richard Metheson. Now technically this story is about vampires but if you read this book and immediately watch Night of the Living Dead you can figure out where George A. Romero, the father of modern zombies, got his ideas from. I am legend a man ends up being the sole survivor of what turns out to be a viral outbreak that has lead to the transformation of every other human being on earth. One of the best parts of the book is that a guy, just an everyday joe, ventures to the library to learn how to be an imunologist who studies a disease and attempts to find a cure. Can there be a better get real science message than “if you act like a scientist you become a scientist and can change the world!”? (I don’t think so)
So remember everybody whether you are trying to do your Earth Science homework or save the world from the impending un-dead all you have to do is be a Scientist and DO SOME SCIENCE!