Cantor's Dilemma

Cantor's Dilemma

by Carl Djerassi
     
 

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When Professor Isidore Cantor reveals his latest breakthrough in cancer research, the scientific community is galvanized. Cantor's most promising research fellow, Dr. Jeremiah Stafford, has only to conduct the experiment that will prove the brilliant hypothesis and win cantor the Nobel Prize. But how far will the young assistant go to guarantee the results? See more details below

Overview

When Professor Isidore Cantor reveals his latest breakthrough in cancer research, the scientific community is galvanized. Cantor's most promising research fellow, Dr. Jeremiah Stafford, has only to conduct the experiment that will prove the brilliant hypothesis and win cantor the Nobel Prize. But how far will the young assistant go to guarantee the results?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Profesor I. Cantor, a distinguished cell biologist specializing in the cancer field, gets a brainstorm on the genesis of tumors, he recognizes it as a once-in-a-lifetime idea, the kind that gets you into the history books and wins Nobel prizes. The only thing lacking is experimental proof. Cantor concocts a brilliant demonstration, which he consigns to the capable hands of Jerry Stafford, his best post-doc student. The experiment succeeds, and earns Cantor and Stafford their Nobel. Indications that Stafford faked the experimental data, and the possibility that this information might be revealed, provide most of the novel's tension. Although Djerassi does not convince the reader that a prestigious prize can be awarded on such shakyground, his scientific morality play works well nonetheless. The characters--ranging from pompous panjandrums of science to an equally pretentious Bakhtin-spouting lit-crit student--are clearly realized and immensely entertaining, and the narrative moves at a brisk pace. Djerassi ( The Futurist and Other Stories ), a professor of chemistry at Stanford , received the National Medal of Science for his synthesis of the first oral contraceptive. Here he gives readers an absorbing view of big science at its seediest. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Cancer research, insect biochemistry, and cell biology are not generally considered subjects for novelists. However, when the author is also a professor of chemistry at Stanford University and is known for synthesizing the first oral contraceptive, such subjects are not just appropriate--they're rich material for reflection. Like his protagonist, Professor I.C. Cantor, Djerassi is a ``Renaissance Man''--scientist, musician, gourmet cook, and skillful writer of stories. His novel concerns the politics of scientific pressures--the race to publish first, the need to replicate experiments, and the necessity for unbiased hypothesis verification. Cantor's startling hypothesis on the etiology of cancer promise him a Nobel Prize, but issues of ambition, trust, and emotional blackmail must first be resolved. A recommended title; other novels dealing with science lack the realism Djerassi so ably provides.-- Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Md.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140143591
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/1991
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
647,353
Product dimensions:
5.07(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Iris Murdoch
"A brilliant tale of the morals of politics of contemporary science. Exciting, moving, and brilliantly written."
Cynthia Ozick
"In Carl Djerassi, C.P. Snow's provided 'two cultures' - science or not - and refused to give us that, perhaps for the first time in the American imagination, a novel by a major scientist on the subject of the scientific experience itself."
Lewis Thomas
"This surprising and engrossing novel, from a working eminente in American science, will perhaps add some anxiety to an already uneasy research establishment....It's a non-stop read."

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