The latest edition of the Journal of Neuroscience has a fantastic collection of articles by leading neuroscientists who look back on the last 40 years of discoveries in brain research.
The collection is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Society for Neuroscience. As the articles make clear, the last four decades have seen a huge expansion in our knowledge of how the brain works and the Society asked leading lights in the field to reflect on this scientific revolution.
Memory and Brain Systems: 1969‚Äì2009 by Larry R. Squire [link]
Neurotransmitters, Receptors, and Second Messengers Galore in 40 Years by Solomon H. Snyder [link]
Four Decades of Neurodegenerative Disease Research: How Far We Have Come! by Anne B. Young [link]
A Paradigm Shift in Functional Brain Imaging by Marcus E. Raichle [link]
The Development of Developmental Neuroscience by Carol Mason [link]
The Biology of Memory: A Forty-Year Perspective by Eric R. Kandel [link]
Strictly speaking, they’re not all retrospectives. For example, while Larry Squire gives a whistle-stop tour through the last 40 years of the cognitive neuroscience of memory (and you’ll probably not read a better brief article in this area), Marcus Raichle takes the opportunity to look forward and is clearly enthusiastic about the ‘default network‘ which he is co-credited with discovering.
They’re all academic articles, so are not the most accessible if you’re not familiar with the scientific literature, but as brief guides to some of the major areas of neuroscience they’re fantastic and freely available online.