"<>Candid, provocative, and disarming, this is the widely-praised memoir of the co-discoverer of the double helix of DNA.<>"
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyCrick's co-discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA (for which he shared a Nobel Prize with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins) was a maddening pursuit beset with false ideas, sloppy models, inconclusive results and fiascos. This will not come as news to readers of Watson's 1968 bestseller The Double Helix. Part memoir, part scientific primer, Crick's gracefully written reminiscence is more concerned with elucidating the intuitive leaps, feats of intellectual courage and perceptual skills that underlie the act of scientific discovery. Writing about his own career with uncommon modesty, he describes his current research into human consciousness and neuroanatomy; brain science of the 1980s, he concludes, is much like molecular biology of the '30s: the major questions remain largely unanswered. One wishes Crick were less reticent about his personal life. His occasional technical forays here into natural selection, the deciphering of the genetic code and theories of perception illuminate how science works. Illustrations. (October)
School Library JournalYA Crick and Jim Watson received the 1962 Nobel Prize for their discovery of the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. Here, Crick details his early training as a physicist; explains how he came to be at Cambridge studying X-ray crystallography; and shows his great respect for other scientists such as Linus Pauling, Sir Lawrence Bragg, Max Perutz, and Sidney Brenner. The writing is clear and straightforward, even when the renderings become technical. The appendixes elaborate further on the detailed biochemistry of the subject. Crick relates both the problems and the successes that he and Watson incurred in their ``mad pursuit'' of the mysteries within the DNA molecule. He concludes this volume with a discussion of his work at the Salk Institute in California. A shorter version of Crick's life and work appears in Lewis Wolpert and Alison Richards' Passion for Science (Oxford, 1988), but the longer version will be of interest to more persistent students.Robyn Cook Schuster, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.
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