Cantor's Dilemma

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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?

When Professor Isidore Cantor reveals his latest breakthrough in cancer research, his promising research ...

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Cantor's Dilemma

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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?

When Professor Isidore Cantor reveals his latest breakthrough in cancer research, his promising research fellow, Dr. Jeremiah Stafford, has only to conduct the experiment and win Cantor the Nobel prize. But how far will Stafford go to guarantee the results? Carl Djerassi draws from his career as a world-famous scientist to describe the fierce competition driving scientific superstars in this gripping novel.

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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: 9780385261838
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/24/1989
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Carl Djerassi is an internationally renowned scientist whose books include the novel Marx, Deceased; his autobiography The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas' Horse; essay, poetry, and short-story collections and two plays. A professor of chemistry at Stanford University, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is one of the few American scientists to have been awarded both the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology.

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