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Inspiring Science: Jim Watson and the Age of DNA

By: John Inglis, Joseph Sambrook and Jan Witkowski

503 pages, B/w illus

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Hardback | Aug 2003 | #144510 | ISBN: 0879696982
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £7.50 $10/€9 approx

About this book

A celebration of Watson's achievements, with 43 essays by friends and colleagues covering much of his scientific life. Few scientists have had a greater capacity to make their disciplines so exciting to outsiders.

History-making scientist of international fame, successful manager of one of the best biological think-tanks, standard-setting textbook author, popularizer and public advocate of science, government advisor: Jim of all trades" be his nom de guerre. Inspiring Science brings us closer to a seemingly larger-than-life man whose long shadow will be cast far into the twenty-first century. Without him, someone else would sooner or later have solved the mystery that half a century ago surrounded DNA. But there is no doubt that Watson had a profound effect on the development of molecular biology in the second half of the twentieth century. He is one of the truly powerful puppeteers of the scientific world, pulling the strings on which the rest of us dangle and dance. Inspiring Science reveals that behind the awe-inspiring public image is a human being with the usual set of strengths and weaknesses, qualifications and shortcomings. Inspiring Science will be not so much remembered for its literary accomplishments as it will be cherished by historians and psychologists as a precious time capsule laying bare the mechanics of science at the end of the twentieth century. Inspiring Science is inspiring reading." --Nature Medicine "The purpose of Inspiring Science, the editors write, 'is not to reconstruct an academic history or an authoritative biography, but to record friendship and appreciation.' ... The editors are to be congratulated on compiling and organizing such a readable and informative set of recollections that will serve very effectively the role they intended." --Nature "That the volume is such a good read probably reflects the capabilities of Watson's friends as well as the efforts of the three editors. From the excellent foreword by Matt Ridley to the final explanatory notes on puzzling details (including descriptions of quiz kids, Delbruck's principle of limited sloppiness, and Benzer's lunchtime diet of crocodile tail), Inspiring Science is a delight, a ride in a convertible through history. The editors deserve accolades for their excellent selections and documentation. Watson himself deserves credit for doing such important work with such panache." --Science


Contents

Preface Acknowledgments Foreword, by Matt Ridley James D. Watson's Life and Work: A Timeline Section I--ORIGINS Introduction: Student Days Phage Days in Indiana, Renato Dulbecco Quiz Kids, Gunther S. Stent Some Early Recollections of Jim Watson, Seymour Benzer REPRINT: The Properties of X-ray-inactivated Bacteriophage. I. Inactivation by Direct Effect, James Dewey Watson Section II--CAMBRIDGE Introduction: Talking and Thinking Jim's Cool Reception among the British Geneticists, Avrion Mitchison Recollections of Jim Watson, Naomi Mitchison Our Work on Virus Structure, Francis H.C. Crick One Day in the Cavendish (April 1, 1953), Gerald Roland Pomerat Jim and Syd, Sydney Brenner A Letter to Jim, January 14, 2002, Max F. Perutz Monday Morning Quarterback, Elof Carlson "The Night before Crickmas," Rollin Hotchkiss REPRINT: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid, J.D. Watson and F.H.C. Crick REPRINT: Genetical Implications of the Structure of Dexoyribonucelic Acid, J.D. Watson and F.H.C. Crick REPRINT: The Complementary Structure of Dexoyribonucleic Acid, F.H.C. Crick and J.D. Watson 1953 SYMPOSIUM Introduction: A Day in June Memories of the 1953 Symposium, Robert L. Sinsheimer, Julius Marmur, Charles Yanofsky, Louis Siminovitch, Frank Fenner, Roy J. Britten, Howard Green, Theodore T. Puck, Waclaw Szybalski, Joseph S. Gots, Hillary Koprowski Symposium on "Viruses," The Long-Islander Article Letter to Max Delbruck, James D. Watson REPRINT: The Structure of DNA, J.D. Watson and F.H.C. Crick Nobel Banquet Speech, James D. Watson Section III--CAREER SCIENTIST Introduction: Caltech, Cambridge, and Harvard Remembering Delbruck, James D. Watson Does RNA Form a Double Helix?, Alexander Rich Flowers and Phage, Joan Steitz On the Edge: My Time in Jim Watson's Lab, Benno Muller-Hill When Ribosomes Were King, Alfred Tissieres It Smells Right..., Lionel V. Crawford Excerpt from Naturalist, Edward O. Wilson Growing Up Around Jim, Jeffrey H. Miller Seems Simple, Very Hard to Do, Mark Ptashne Watson at Harvard (1956-1976), Paul Doty REPRINT: Structure of Small Viruses, F.H.C. Crick and J.D. Watson REPRINT: Unstable Ribonucleic Acid Revealed by Pulse Labelling of Escherichia coli, F. Gros, H. Hiatt, W. Gilbert, C.G. Kurland, R.W. Risebrough, and J.D. Watson Section IV--COLD SPRING HARBOR Introduction: An Emotional Attachment Cold Spring Harbor 1958-1968: The Years between Demerec and Watson, John Cairns Life with Jim, Norton D. Zinder CSHL in the Sixties: A View from the Trenches, Ann Skalka REPRINT: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Director's Report, 1989, James D. Watson Jim as a Mentor, 1971-1974, Philip A. Sharp From Development of Yeast Cells to Human Brain Hemispheres, Amar J.S. Klar Big Shoes to Fill, with the Laces Untied, Bruce Stillman Just Jim, Michael Wigler Milestones and Mentoring: How Jim Watson Influenced a Scientific Career, Douglas Hanahan CSHL in Transition, Raymond F. Gesteland Cold Spring Harbor and Recombinant DNA, Thomas Maniatis REPRINT: Origin o

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