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Ahead of the Curve: David Baltimore's Life in Science New Ed Edition

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520239043
ISBN-10: 0520239040
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nobel Prize winner Baltimore has had a remarkable influence on 20th-century biology. As one colleague has stated, "It is not an exaggeration to say that one could write a pretty decent history of the last 25 years in biology by reviewing Dr. Baltimore's contributions." Indeed, Baltimore has made significant discoveries in molecular biology, been actively involved in cancer and AIDS research, was the founding director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT, was president of Rockefeller University, is currently president of the California Institute of Technology and was at the center of the nation's most protracted and public examination of scientific fraud. Crotty, a doctoral fellow at UC-San Francisco, does an impressive job of outlining Baltimore's scientific role in many of his major discoveries and makes many of the basics of modern molecular biology accessible to the general public. What is missing, however, is any deep sense of Baltimore. We see many of his actions and his experiments but we never fully come to know the individual. His personal life is almost entirely undisclosed, as are the reasons why a significant portion of the scientific establishment turned on him amid the accusations of fraud, of which he was ultimately cleared. Nonetheless, readers wanting to gain insight into the politics of contemporary science and those with a particular interest in microbiology, cancer and AIDS research will not be disappointed. Photos not seen by PW.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

When hearing David Baltimore's name, many people will think only of the ten-year scientific fraud scandal involving him and Thereza Imanishi-Kari. Yet Baltimore has been an important figure in modern molecular biology and virology, from his early work on RNA replicase and animal virus replication and his role in the controversy surrounding early recombinant DNA experientments, to his continuing work at Caltech as its president and as head of the AIDS Vaccine Research Committee. Crotty, Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, has written an intriguing biography of the controversial Nobel Prize-winning scientist. She narrates Baltimore's life in the context of the exciting discoveries that have changed biology since the 1950s and the fascinating people who made those discoveries and influenced Baltimore's career. Crotty also takes the time to explain clearly the science and scientific methods used in molecular biology and virology research. She covers the fraud case well, but David Kevles's The Baltimore Case: A Trial of Poltics, Science, and Character (LJ 10/1/98) offers a more extended study of that event. For public and academic libraries. Margaret Henderson, Cold Spring Harbor Academics, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: David Baltimore's Life in Science
  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (June 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520239040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520239043
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The author weaves a wonderful overview of the early history of molecular biology with the achievements of David Baltimore's life. We are given a great deal of insight not only about his groundbreaking research and accomplishments but also personal qualities and passion for life outside of science.
This is a great book for both biologists and those with simply an interest in biology. The scientific information is easy to comprehend without being oversimplified.
Some works of non-fiction can take a long time to read, but I finished this book in 2 days as the story flowed very smoothly. I am definitely looking forward to Shane Crotty's future publications.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Hiroshi Maruta on April 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
In 1950s, Watson and Crick established a so-called "central dogma" in molecular biology: DNA makes RNA, and RNA makes proteins. However, around 1970, two groups in US found the first exception of this rule. David Baltimore's and Howard Temin's teams discovered that RNA makes DNA! This unexpected finding of theirs in cancer-causing RNA viruses not only made this field up-side down, but also opened a new avenue called "recombinant technology" a decade later, for cloning genes and transfering any gene from one species to another almost at will. For this reason, Baltimore and Temin shared a Nobel prize in 1975. Baltimore's greatness extended beyond the science. He viewed this world in an "unconventional" manner. He married a highly-talented Chinese biologist, and protested against the highly controversial US wars in Vietnam and Iraq. He has an exceptional wisdom which we could learn from this well-written biography.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I truly enjoyed reading this book on the impressive scientific accomplishments of David Baltimore. I remember being in a relatively informal seminar at MIT when he gave a short introduction to the science that was to be presented that evening. His presence commanded awe and respect---almost always expected from someone with outstanding credentials.
The book is good not just for examining Baltimore's exponential rise to scientific stardom but also for getting a seminal idea on the development of the fields of virology, molecular biology, and immunology. Through his work, Baltimore became a unifying force between these seemingly disparate sciences. The author also writes clearly about the political baggage that comes with having such a high profile in biology.
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anna Simpson on April 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book! I really enjoyed the story of Baltimore's life, and I feel that I learned a lot of science along the way. I definitely feel more qualified to comment on conversations about biology now! I actually picked up this book because I really enjoy biographies, but it has gotten me interested in other science books for amateurs. I hope Crotty writes more soon!
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