The Art and Politics of Science by Harold Varmus, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Art and Politics of Science

The Art and Politics of Science

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by Harold Varmus
     
 

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A Nobel Prize–winning cancer biologist, leader of major scientific institutions, and scientific adviser to President Obama reflects on his remarkable career.
A PhD candidate in English literature at Harvard University, Harold Varmus discovered he was drawn instead to medicine and eventually found himself at the forefront of cancer research at the

Overview

A Nobel Prize–winning cancer biologist, leader of major scientific institutions, and scientific adviser to President Obama reflects on his remarkable career.
A PhD candidate in English literature at Harvard University, Harold Varmus discovered he was drawn instead to medicine and eventually found himself at the forefront of cancer research at the University of California, San Francisco. In this “timely memoir of a remarkable career” (American Scientist), Varmus considers a life’s work that thus far includes not only the groundbreaking research that won him a Nobel Prize but also six years as the director of the National Institutes of Health; his current position as the president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and his important, continuing work as scientific adviser to President Obama. From this truly unique perspective, Varmus shares his experiences from the trenches of politicized battlegrounds ranging from budget fights to stem cell research, global health to science publishing.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
“A perceptive book about science and its civic value, arriving as the White House renews its acquaintance with empiricism.”
Seth Shulman
In his memoir, The Art and Politics of Science, Varmus offers a plain-spoken and fascinating story of his path from graduate student in English literature to the forefront of biomedical research. His journey to the highest echelons of the scientific establishment is as interesting for its incidental details as for its glimpse into the process of modern biomedical science.
—The Washington Post
Peter Dizikes
[Varmus] has…written a perceptive book about science and its civic value, arriving as the White House renews its acquaintance with empiricism. Varmus recounts his laboratory career and tenure as director of the National Institutes of Health, then surveys topical issues like stem-cell research. One implication of this book is that far from disconnecting politics and science, we should find better ways of linking them.
—The New York Times
Kirkus Reviews
Nobel Prize-winning biologist Varmus describes a varied, idiosyncratic career. Medicine seemed an obvious career choice for the son of a physician, but he also loved literature; Amherst allowed him to do pre-med but also enjoy gifted English professors. After a restless year in Harvard's graduate English department, he switched to medical school at Columbia. To avoid serving in the Vietnam War, which he strongly opposed, he applied for alternative duties at the National Institutes of Health. He worked in a lab that exposed him to virology and molecular hybridization, areas that proved crucial in his later studies of cancer genes. In short, fortuitous events, serendipity and sheer intellectual curiosity led to Varmus partnering with Michael Bishop (his co-Nobelist) at the University of California, San Francisco and their discovery that human cells contain proto-oncogenes, bits of DNA that if mutated can trigger malignancy. Details of the experiments with tumor viruses that led to their discoveries comprise the second of the memoir's four parts. President Clinton appointed Varmus director of NIH in the mid-'90s, a time of growth for the federal research agency that nonetheless had its testy moments. The author was and is an outspoken lab scientist. He contended with turf battles among NIH institutes and sought greater control over NIH funding. He had to deal with issues such as embryonic stem cell research and reproductive cloning, as well as congressional oversight hearings, pressures to create new institutes and the demands of patient-advocacy groups. There were good times, of course, but after six years Varmus was ready to move on to a new job as president of New York's MemorialSloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He has not endeared himself to science publishers by being an ardent advocate for free access to medical literature via the Internet, helping to launch a series of Public Library of Science journals available to anyone with a browser. A good mix of the personal and the professional in a memoir suggesting that C.P. Snow's two cultures occasionally meet within the same individual.
Seth Shulman - The Washington Post
“Varmus offers a plain-spoken and fascinating story of his path from graduate student in English literature to the forefront of biomedical research. His journey to the highest echelons of the scientific establishment is as interesting for its incidental details as for its glimpse into the process of modern biomedical science.”
Peter Dizikes - The New York Times
“[A] perceptive book about science and its civic value, arriving as the White House renews its acquaintance with empiricism. Varmus recounts his laboratory career and tenure as director of the National Institutes of Health, then surveys topical issues like stem-cell research. One implication of this book is that far from disconnecting politics and science, we should find better ways of linking them.”
Scientific American
“An engaging read, fascinating as a memoir of Varmus’s personal and scientific journeys, revealing in its account of his stewardship of the NIH. The book is like the man—honest and clear-eyed, thoughtful and outspoken, always good company, with more than a frequent touch of humour and self-deprecation.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393304534
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
05/24/2010
Pages:
315
Sales rank:
756,241
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute and president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, lives with his wife, Constance Casey, and their two sons in New York City.

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The Art and Politics of Science 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheCurtain More than 1 year ago
for a summary of ethics and safety concerns at a high profile cancer research center (mskcc), where clinical trial candidates are developed, please see: www.mskccheats.blogspot.com "Sloan is pursuing a systemic approach to reducing expenses and increasing revenues [.] One example of this is discouraging terminally ill patients from seeking initial treatment or second opinions from the cancer center [.] the admission of such patients is counterproductive [.] to Sloan Kettering." [paraphrasing salient features, MSKCC, CFO/Chief Financial Officer] MSKCC, we hoped you'd be our hero. Minimally, MSKCC, you're SUPPOSED to care.
ManBehindTheCurtain More than 1 year ago
for a summary of ethics and safety concerns at a high profile cancer research center (mskcc) please see: http://www.mskccheats.blogspot.com in addition to the art and politics of science there is disingenuous and greed MSKCCheats: "Sloan is pursuing a systemic approach to reducing expenses and increasing revenues [.] One example of this is discouraging terminally ill patients from seeking initial treatment or second opinions from the cancer center [.] the admission of such patients is counterproductive [.] to Sloan Kettering." [paraphrasing salient features, MSKCC, CFO/Chief Financial Officer]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
for a summary of ethics and safety concerns at a high profile cancer center (mskcc), please see: http://www.mskccheats.blogspot.com "Sloan is pursuing a systemic approach to reducing expenses and increasing revenues [.] One example of this is discouraging terminally ill patients from seeking initial treatment or second opinions from the cancer center [.] the admission of such patients is counterproductive [.] to Sloan Kettering." [paraphrasing salient features, MSKCC, CFO/Chief Financial Officer]
InsincereScience More than 1 year ago
"Sloan is pursuing a systemic approach to reducing expenses and increasing revenues [.] One example of this is discouraging terminally ill patients from seeking initial treatment or second opinions from the cancer center [.] the admission of such patients is counterproductive [.] to Sloan Kettering." [paraphrasing salient features, MSKCC, CFO/Chief Financial Officer]. lovely.