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Making Genes, Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science

Making Genes, Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science

by Jon BeckwithJon Beckwith
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In 1969, Jon Beckwith and his colleagues succeeded in isolating a gene from the chromosome of a living organism. Announcing this startling achievement at a press conference, Beckwith took the opportunity to issue a public warning about the dangers of genetic engineering. Jon Beckwith's book, the story of a scientific life on the front line, traces one remarkable man's dual commitment to scientific research and social responsibility over the course of a career spanning most of the postwar history of genetics and molecular biology.

A thoroughly engrossing memoir that recounts Beckwith's halting steps toward scientific triumphs—among them, the discovery of the genetic element that turns genes on—as well as his emergence as a world-class political activist, Making Genes, Making Waves is also a compelling history of the major controversies in genetics over the last thirty years. Presenting the science in easily understandable terms, Beckwith describes the dramatic changes that transformed biology between the late 1950s and our day, the growth of the radical science movement in the 1970s, and the personalities involved throughout. He brings to light the differing styles of scientists as well as the different ways in which science is presented within the scientific community and to the public at large. Ranging from the travails of Robert Oppenheimer and the atomic bomb to the Human Genome Project and recent "Science Wars," Beckwith's book provides a sweeping view of science and its social context in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674009288
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/15/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 254
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jon Beckwith is American Cancer Society Research Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School.

Table of Contents

1. The Quail Farmer and the Scientist

2. Becoming a Scientist

3. Becoming an Activist

4. On Which Side Are the Angels?

5. The Tarantella of the Living

6. Does Science Take a Back Seat to Politics?

7. Their Own Atomic History

8. The Myth of the Criminal Chromosome

9. It's the Devil in Your DNA

10. I'm Not Very Scary Anymore

11. Story-Telling in Science

12. Geneticists and the Two Cultures

13. The Scientist and the Quail Farmer




What People are Saying About This

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[A] small but very stimulating book.
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Hadot brings all his concerns together in a small volume of extraordinary erudition ...[t]he summa of a distinguished career.
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[O]ne of the world's most respected living philosophers, Canada's Charles Taylor, is taking a fresh look at James's classic.
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