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Popularizing Science: The Life and Work of JBS Haldane

Biography / Memoir

By: Krishna Rao Dronamraju(Author)

384 pages, 24 illustrations

Oxford University Press USA

Hardback | Jan 2017 | #233113 | ISBN-13: 9780199333929
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £22.99 $30/€26 approx

About this book

J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964) is widely appreciated as one of the greatest and most influential British scientists of the 20th century, making significant contributions to genetics, physiology, biochemistry, biometry, cosmology, and other sciences. More remarkable, then, is the fact that Haldane had no formal qualification in science. He made frequent appearances in the media, making pronouncements on a variety of poignant topics including mining disasters, meteorites, politics, and the economy, and was a popular scientific essay writer. Haldane also was famed for conducting painful experiments on himself, including several instances in which he permanently injured himself. A staunch Marxist and convert to Hinduism, Haldane lived a diverse, lively and interesting life that is still revered by today's science community.

A biography of Haldane has not been attempted since 1968, and that book provided an incomplete account of the man's scientific achievement. Popularizing Science serves to fix this glaring omission, providing a complete biographical sketch written by Krishna Dronamraju, one of the last living men to have worked personally with Haldane. A new genre of biographies of 20th-century scientists has come into being, and thus far works have been written about men like Einstein, Oppenheimer, Bernal, Galton, and many more; the inclusion of Haldane within this genre is an absolute necessity. Dronamraju evaluates Haldane's social and political background, as well as his scientific creativity and accomplishments. Haldane embodies a generation of intellectuals who believed and promoted knowledge for its own sake, and that spirit of scientific curiosity and passion is captured in this biography.



1. Family background and early life (Ancestry, Childhood, Education)
2. Charlotte and Sex Viri (Marriage and Scandal, Sex viri)
3. Eugenics and Predictions (1923)
4. Population genetics (1924)
5. Evolutionary biology (1924)
6. On being a guinea pig (1924)
7. Chemical genetics (1927)
8. Origin of life (1929)

9. Human genetics (1931)
10. The Marxist Years

11. Lysenko controversy
12. Helen Spurway (Second wife)
13. Popularizing science
14. Haldane and Huxley

15. Relations with other scientists
16. Moving to Paradise (1957)

17. Life in Paradise (1957-1964) (Death)
18. Haldane and Religion
19. Impact of Haldane Today
20. Timeline

Appendix A: Publications of Haldane
Appendix B: Famous quotes of Haldane
Appendix C: Notes for Chapters
Appendix D: Correspondence


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Krishna Dronamraju is an Indian-born geneticist and President of the Foundation for Genetic Research in Houston, Texas. Dr. Dronamraju completed his PhD from Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta under the guidance of JBS Haldane. Dronamraju also completed advanced training at University College London and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship in genetics at the University of Alberta.

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