Cover: Right Hand, Left Hand: The Origins of Asymmetry in Brains, Bodies, Atoms and Cultures, from Harvard University PressCover: Right Hand, Left Hand in PAPERBACK

Right Hand, Left Hand

The Origins of Asymmetry in Brains, Bodies, Atoms and Cultures

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$30.00 • £24.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674016132

Publication Date: 10/25/2004

Short

432 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

50 halftones; 73 line illustrations, 9 tables

United States and its dependencies only

Listen to Chris McManus discuss the perils of being left-handed on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show:

A labor of love and enthusiasm as well as deep scientific knowledge, Right Hand, Left Hand takes the reader on a trip through history, around the world, and into the cosmos, to explore the place of handedness in nature and culture. Chris McManus considers evidence from anthropology, particle physics, the history of medicine, and the notebooks of Leonardo to answer questions like: Why are most people right-handed? Are left-handed people cognitively different from right-handers? Why is the heart almost always on the left side of the body? Why does European writing go from left to right, while Arabic and Hebrew go from right to left? Why do tornadoes spin counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere? And how do we know that Jack the Ripper was left-handed?

McManus reminds readers that distinctions between right and left have been profoundly meaningful—imbued with moral and religious meaning—in societies throughout history, and suggests that our preoccupation with laterality may originate in our asymmetric bodies, which emerged from 550 million years of asymmetric vertebrate evolution, and may even be linked to the asymmetric structure of matter. With speculations embedded in science, Right Hand, Left Hand offers entertainment and new insight to scientists and general readers alike.

Awards & Accolades

  • 2003 Aventis Prize for Best Book in Popular Science Writing, Royal Society, U.K. National Academy of Science, and the Aventis Foundation
City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present, by Alex Krieger, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

From Our Blog

Photo of Lucia Jacobs as a child sitting next to Oaky

How to Plant a Forest

For this week’s University Press Week Blog Tour, Lucia Jacobs offers us a glimpse of environmental stewardship as seen through the activities of the ubiquitous squirrel, a species native to the Americas, Africa, and Eurasia from the Eocene Epoch onward. Lucia Jacobs is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.