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The Quarterly Review of BiologyPerhaps most importantly, this is a volume about life at Cold Spring Harbor. Very few pages pass without a mention of some word or deed by James Watson and the presence of Barbara McClintock is felt throughout the book. There are fascinating descriptions of Watson making his nightly rounds of the research laboratories, and of him wryly reminding a postdoctoral researcher caught building a model of DNA: '[t]hat's been done'. Tim Tully tells an interesting tale of Watson's willingness to support a long and often frustrating assault on the biology of memory.
In an early chapter, Bruce Alberts reminds us that 'cells are much smarter than scientists'. True enough, but the denizens of CSHL in the 1970s and 1980s were (and still are) rapidly closing the gap.