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Making Genes, Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science

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Making Genes, Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"The prose is straightforward, and Beckwith is refreshingly frank, revealing the divagations and doubts that marked his course in research." Daniel J. Kevles, American Scientist

Review:

"In this beautifully written autobiography, Beckwith...vividly describes aspects of the 'cultural revolution in science that molecular biology brought with it,' epitomized by...major public controversies about genetics in the United States from the 1960s....Beckwith has portrayed a fascinating period in the history of modern biology and of the interaction of science and society in the Western world." Ute Deichmann, Nature

Review:

"Jon Beckwith in Making Genes, Making Waves reminds us that he first warned about the social impact of genetic engineering back in 1969. His autobiography shows what hard work it is to combine science and politics, to keep different networks of interests alive." New Scientist [UK]

Review:

"This is a strikingly honest and sensitive self-appraisal of trying to integrate a life in science with an equally committed life of social activism. It has special credibility coming from one of America's most distinguished microbiologists. It is a must read for any young scientist who is concerned by the tension between the beautiful rationality of science and the sometimes ugly outcomes of its application. In particular, Beckwith grapples with the harmful fallout that genetic studies might generate." David Baltimore, President, California Institute of Technology, and Alice S. Huang, Senior Councilor for External Relations, California Institute of Technology

Review:

"In this book, Beckwith produces a fine parallel to what he has accomplished in his life — a balance between science and humanism that is both extraordinary and exemplary." Troy Duster, Professor of Sociology, New York University

Synopsis:

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.

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

Bibliography

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674009288
Author:
Beckwith, Jon
Author:
Beckwith, Jonathan R.
Author:
Beckwith
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Mass.
Subject:
Science
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Scientists
Subject:
Science & Technology
Subject:
Political activists
Subject:
Geneticists
Subject:
Life Sciences - Genetics & Genomics
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
Science -- Social aspects.
Subject:
Political activists -- United States.
Subject:
Biography-Scientists
Copyright:
Series Volume:
1083
Publication Date:
January 2002
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
4 halftones, 3 line illustrations
Pages:
254
Dimensions:
8 x 6 in 16 oz

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Related Subjects

Biography » Science and Technology
History and Social Science » Law » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Genetics

Making Genes, Making Waves: A Social Activist in Science New Hardcover
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Product details 254 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674009288 Reviews:
"Review" by , "The prose is straightforward, and Beckwith is refreshingly frank, revealing the divagations and doubts that marked his course in research."
"Review" by , "In this beautifully written autobiography, Beckwith...vividly describes aspects of the 'cultural revolution in science that molecular biology brought with it,' epitomized by...major public controversies about genetics in the United States from the 1960s....Beckwith has portrayed a fascinating period in the history of modern biology and of the interaction of science and society in the Western world."
"Review" by , "Jon Beckwith in Making Genes, Making Waves reminds us that he first warned about the social impact of genetic engineering back in 1969. His autobiography shows what hard work it is to combine science and politics, to keep different networks of interests alive."
"Review" by , "This is a strikingly honest and sensitive self-appraisal of trying to integrate a life in science with an equally committed life of social activism. It has special credibility coming from one of America's most distinguished microbiologists. It is a must read for any young scientist who is concerned by the tension between the beautiful rationality of science and the sometimes ugly outcomes of its application. In particular, Beckwith grapples with the harmful fallout that genetic studies might generate." David Baltimore, President, California Institute of Technology, and Alice S. Huang, Senior Councilor for External Relations, California Institute of Technology
"Review" by , "In this book, Beckwith produces a fine parallel to what he has accomplished in his life — a balance between science and humanism that is both extraordinary and exemplary."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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