×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery
     

Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery

3.0 1
by Jeff Goldberg
 

See All Formats & Editions

“[Jeff] Goldberg admirably tells the story of the science and the scientists in this cutting-edge work.”—Los Angeles Times

In late 1973, scientists John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz spent the majority of their time in an underfunded, obscure, and cramped laboratory in Aberdeen, Sweden. While working on the brains of pigs, the duo

Overview

“[Jeff] Goldberg admirably tells the story of the science and the scientists in this cutting-edge work.”—Los Angeles Times

In late 1973, scientists John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz spent the majority of their time in an underfunded, obscure, and cramped laboratory in Aberdeen, Sweden. While working on the brains of pigs, the duo discovered a nonaddictive narcotic chemical that they hoped to later find in human brains. If they could isolate this chemical in humans, perhaps they could find a way to help the world begin to heal itself. Hughes and Kosterlitz’s research would inevitably lead them to discover endorphins, the body’s own natural morphine and the chemical that makes it possible to feel both pain and pleasure.

Announcing their findings to the scientific world thrust Hughes and Kosterlitz in the spotlight and made them celebrities. Soon, scientists all over the world were hastily examining the human brain and its endorphins. In a few years’ time, they would use the team’s initial research to link endorphins to drug addiction, runner’s high, appetite control, sexual response, and mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia.

In Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery, Jeff Goldberg describes Hughes and Kosterlitz’s lives before, during, and after their historic and scientific breakthrough. He also takes a look at the bigger picture, revealing the brutal competition between drug companies to find a way to cash in on this monumental discovery.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An international race during the 1970s among scientists in the U.S. and Scotland to isolate endorphinsnatural, morphine-like substances present in the brainis recounted in clear and colorful detail by science writer Goldberg (coauthor of Flowers in the Blood). He gives an account of the discovery (by the team of Hans Kosterlitz and John Hughes, in a poorly funded lab in Aberdeen) of a nonaddictive narcotic chemical in pigs' brains, and then follows with a contrasting account of the high-tech research conducted by scientists at American universities on opiate receptors and experiments designed to stimulate natural pain-blocking, much of the American effort motivated by the need to combat heroin addiction. In 1976, the controversy-fraught laboratory competition was superceded by the race among drug companies to develop the most successful of the 20 types of opiate peptides; the prize would be domination of a market serving an estimated 20 million chronic pain sufferers in the U.S. alone. While some researchers have sought inconclusively to establish a relationship between endorphins and mental illness, others have focused on a proposed linkage between endorphins and pleasure, learning, stress and sexual response. (May)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553346312
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/1989
Pages:
244
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ More than 1 year ago
I found this at a library book sale, along with about 10 other books for $3. What interested me was the form in which this story takes, the subject of the narrative, and that it would satisfy and feed my curiosity in the science of the brain and nervous system. I enjoyed learning about the life of lab researchers and the social networking of the scientific and medical communities. I found that when Goldberg broadened the focus from Kosterlitz and Hughes in Aberdeen to the development of the research within other institutions, that I missed the original characters and wanted to read about what they were doing as things developed. There is much scientific jargon that I see as essential to the narrative and understanding, but I am not well-versed in those details. Because of that, I probably missed out on fully appreciating it, while people more familiar with chemistry and biology would gain the most comprehension of it. Still, I do not regret reading it and learning about the discipline in a less simplistic manner. As a reader who appreciates dabbling in many things, and things being explained appropriately (clear enough for a general audience, but not simplified excessively), the book was enlightening and worth reading. I think I prefer the English way of endorsing and funding scientific research to the American way, which gives more room to truly explore rather than rushing the researchers to produce results as quickly as is possible. This book highlights the nature of scientific competition, and the need for action, lest (if the research of actual great importance) someone else vying for recognition, etc. make the discovery and publish their findings first. In that sense, there is some appropriate amount of suspense, where I was finding myself rooting for the original team of Kosterlitz and Hughes, hoping their competitors didn't "steal" their discovery and holding claim to it, when it seemed rightfully that in this case, belonging to the Aberdeen institution. One of the researchers in this race for endorphins' usefulness, Dr. Candace Pert, apparently endorses and approves of this book, as is attested on the back cover with her review of it. If you enjoy learning, and discovering the life of medical research and how scientists really make breakthrough discoveries, then pick up this narrative.