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The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology

By: Horace Freeland Judson

714 pages, Illus, b/w photos

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Paperback | Jan 1996 | Edition: 2 | #85492 | ISBN: 0879694785
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £43.99 $54/€49 approx
Hardback | Dec 1996 | Edition: 2 | #85490 | ISBN: 0879694777
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £52.99 $65/€60 approx

About this book

In this classic, originally published 25 years ago and now reprinted with a new Afterword by the author on how he came to write the book, Judson tells the story of the birth and early development of molecular biology, in the US, the UK and France. In particular, the fascinating account of the remarkable golden period from the revelation of the double helix structure of DNA through to cracking the genetic code and solving the basic problems of how genes are regulated, is told largely in the words of the main players in the unfolding drama, all of whom were interviewed extensively by Judson in preparing this acclaimed volume.

A historian has mused that the memory of man is too frail a thread on which to hang history; Judson's achievement, in drawing out the memories of so many participants in the epic of molecular biology and weaving them into a single robust skein, is magisterial. His work fittingly commemorates a golden age which already seems as remote as that of Darwin and Huxley.
- Nature

"This reissue of a pioneering history of molecular biology, for some years out of print, is essentially a reprint of the first edition of 1979. Horace Judson has corrected a few minor errors (remarkably few for such a fact-filled book), given a sharper emphasis to Frederick Sangers' work on protein sequencing to reflect his (Judson's) conviction of its central importance, and added some personal details to a biographical sketch of Rosalind Franklin. Finally, an epilogue touches very briefly on developments in the 1970s that were the foundations for the subsequent vast expansion of molecular biology [...] . This epilogue obviously is not meant to bring Judson's original story up to the present-that would take another large book-but only to point readers to topics that Judson leaves for other historians to explore.

'The Eighth Day of Creation' has aged well, like a good vintage, and its very good to have it available again."

"The revelations of modern biology make a remarkable human and scientific story, and it has never been told better than in Horace Freeland Judson's 'The Eighth Day of Creation' [...] . What is especially fortunate is that he is a graceful writer with a keen sense of the human as well as the scientific drama [...] . I finished the book with a great sense of elation and a deepened sense of admiration for what the human family, at its best, can accomplish."
- (Review of the First Edition), JEREMY BERNSTEIN, New York Times Book Review

"In his massive, marvelous history of molecular biology [...] Judson introduces us to many fiendishly clever experiments, some fiercely competitive rivalries, and some of the greatest scientific minds ever to ponder the mysteries of biology [...] . He has talked with nearly everyone involved, and 'The Eighth Day of Creation' is a unique oral history of a scientific revolution; to my knowledge there has been nothing else like it."
- (Review of the First Edition), LEON GUSSOW, Chicago Tribune


Preface to the expanded edition by Sir John Maddox
Foreword to the expanded edition
Foreword to the first edition

Part I: DNA - Function and Structure: The elucidation of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic material
1. "He was a very remarkable fellow. Even more odd then, than later."
2. "DNA, you know, is Midas' gold. Everybody who touches it goes mad."
3. "Then they ask you, 'What is the significance of DNA for mankind, Dr. Watson?'"

J&# a# ts
"Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid," by J.D. Watson and F.H.C. Crick. Nature, 171 (25 April 1953), pages 737-738
"Genetical Implications of the Structure of Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid," by J.D. Watson and F.H.C. Crick. Nature, 171 (30 May 1953): 964-967

On the State of Molecular Biology Early in the 1970s
4. On T.H. Morgan's deviation and the secret of life

Part II: RNA - The Functions of the Structure: The breaking of the genetic code, the discovery of the messenger
5. "The number of the beast"
6. "My mind was, that a dogma was an idea for which there was no reasonable evidence. You see?!"
7. "The gene was something in the minds of people as inaccessible as the material of the galaxies."
8. "He wasn't a member of the club."

Part III: PROTEIN - Structure and Function: The solution of how protein molecules work.
9. "As always, I was driven on by wild expectations."
10. "I have discovered the second secret of life."

CONCLUSION, 1978: "Always the same impasse"
EPILOGUE: "We can put duck and orange DNA together-with a probability of one."
AFTERWORD I: In Defense of Rosalind Franklin: The myth of the wronged heroine
AFTERWORD II: What Did Erwin Chargaff Contribute?
AFTERWORD III: Dawn of The Eighth Day


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