Epigenetics in the Age of Twitter: Pop Culture and Modern Science [NOOK Book]

Overview


Pop culture meets cutting-edge science in this one-volume introduction to the history of science and modern biology.

“[Weissmann] has emerged in the last three decades as America’s most interesting and important essayist. He has achieved this status both epigenetically and through Twitter, word of mouth, so to speak. . . . Much like Susan Sontag, Weissmann likes being a contemporary, and does not feel shackled by tradition. . . . This book is a joy for the heart and instructive...

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Epigenetics in the Age of Twitter: Pop Culture and Modern Science

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Overview


Pop culture meets cutting-edge science in this one-volume introduction to the history of science and modern biology.

“[Weissmann] has emerged in the last three decades as America’s most interesting and important essayist. He has achieved this status both epigenetically and through Twitter, word of mouth, so to speak. . . . Much like Susan Sontag, Weissmann likes being a contemporary, and does not feel shackled by tradition. . . . This book is a joy for the heart and instructive for the mind.” —ERIC KANDEL, Nobel Laureate and author of In Search of Memory

“Only a mind as nimble and well traveled as Gerald Weissmann’s could see, never mind make and expound on, the connections between salamanders and Prohibition . . . white blood cells, Hollywood and erectile dysfunction . . . health care reform and Marie Antoinette . . . bacteria, the Equal Rights Amendment and the “Miracle on the Hudson.” Better yet, Weissmann does so with wit and insight. A fascinating tour through history, science and pop culture.” —MAX GOMEZ, MD, Emmy Award-winning WCBS-TV Medical Correspondent

“Erudite energy leaps from this lively commingling of art, culture and science. . . . In each [essay], Weissmann finds links between research and elements of history and pop culture, which play off each other to illuminating effect. So US politician Sarah Palin pops up in a discussion of ‘Marie Antoinette syndrome’. . . and the ‘meltdown’ of the mythical Icarus meets the nuclear version at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan.” —Nature

Epigenetics, which attempts to explain how our genes respond to our environment, is the latest twist on the historic nature vs. nurture debate. In addressing this and other controversies in contemporary science, Gerald Weissmann taps what he calls “the social network of Western Civilization,” including the many neglected women of science: from the martyred Hypatia of Alexandria, the first woman scientist, to the Nobel laureates Marie Curie, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, and Elizabeth Blackburn, among other luminaries in the field. Always instructive and often hilarious, this is a one-volume introduction to modern biology, viewed through the lens of today’s mass media and the longer historical tradition of the Scientific Revolution. Whether engaging in the healthcare debate or imagining the future prose styling of the scientific research paper in the age of Twitter, Weissmann proves to be one of our most incisive cultural critics and satirists.

Gerald Weissmann is director of the Biotechnology Study Center at the New York University School of Medicine and editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal. His essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including the London Review of Books and New York Times Book Review.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934137512
  • Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 1,089,415
  • File size: 828 KB

Meet the Author


Gerald Weissmann is Emeritus Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology), Research Professor of Medicine, and Director of the Biotechnology Study Center at the New York University School of Medicine. He is also Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. In 2002, he was elected to Galileo’s Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei of Rome (1603), the world’s oldest scholarly society. He is a Master and past president of the American College of Rheumatology, a past president of the Harvey Society, a Fellow of the AAAS and of the New York Academy of Medicine. He is on the board of the New York Academy of Sciences, a trustee of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA and on the Advisory Board of the Ellison Medical Foundation. He is chairman of the jury for the Prix Galien USA, an award that has been called the “Nobel Prize of Pharmaceuticals.” A member of PEN, his essays and reviews of cultural history have been published in The New Republic, The London Review of Books and The New York Times Book Review and have been collected in eight volumes from The Woods Hole Cantata (1985) to Mortal and Immortal DNA: Science and the Lure of Myth (2009).
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Table of Contents

Prefatory Note 11

1 Walter Benjamin and Biz Stone: The Scientific Paper in the Age of Twiner 15

2 Epigenetics in the Adirondack 22

3 A Nobel Is Out of Order: "J-Lo" vs. Hypatia of Alexandria 30

4 Epigenetics and Alma Mahler 37

5 Inflammation Is Complicated: From Metchnikoff to Meryl Streep 44

6 An Arrowsmith for the NASDAQ Era: Extraordinary Measures 50

7 Sarah Palin and Marie-Antoinette: Post-Traumatic Tress Disorder 57

8 Coca-Cola and H. G. Wells: Dietary Supplements as Subprime Drugs 63

9 Voodoo Economics and Voodoo Healing: Witchcraft Persists in Massachusetts 70

10 Myrna Loy: Co-Principal Investigator 77

11 Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Atomic: Beauty vs. Horror in Science 83

12 Free Radicals Can Kill You: Lavoisier and the Oxygen Revolution 90

13 Experimental Errors: Paul Bert and the Alabama Tenure Killings 96

14 Monumental Revolutions: Scientific, Sanitary and 'Omic 103

15 Quorum Sensing on the Airbus Wing 111

16 SiCKO Statistics: Michael Moore and L'École de Paris 118

17 Ask Your Doctor: Justice Holmes and the Marketplace of Ideas 126

18 Filter the Dogs: Microbial Mishaps in Massachusetts 133

19 Pattern Recognition and Gestalt Psychology: The Day Nüsslein-Volhard Shouted "Toll!" 140

20 Not by the Sword, but Disease: Doctor Howe and General Shinseki 147

21 Science as Oath and Testimony: Joshua Lederberg 154

22 X-ray Politics: The Nazi War on Rontgen and Einstein 162

23 Wild Horses and The Doctor's Dilemma 168

24 Glass Ceilings at the Nobel Prizes 175

25 Medea and the Microtubule 182

26 Wiki-Science and Molière's Beast 188

27 Arts and Science: Lewis Thomas and E Scott Fitzgerald 194

28 Icarus and Fukushima Daiichi: Human Factors in a Meltdown (Sv=1J/kg.w) 201

Acknowlegments 207

References 208

Index 245

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