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Dancing Naked in the Mind Field Paperback – January 4, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (January 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679774009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679774006
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Kary Mullis won the Nobel Prize for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction, a chemical procedure that allows scientists to "see" the structures of the molecules of genes. Mullis is no shy, socially inept bench chemist, though; on the contrary, he has led as big and full a life as possible, opening himself to experiences like hallucinogenic drugs, surfing, casually handling dangerous chemicals, and taking shots at the sacred cows of science. Dancing Naked in the Mind Field is Mullis's own chronicle of his adventures, from wooing countless women to possibly being abducted by aliens, and it's a funny, shocking tale indeed. This man certainly doesn't suffer from lack of self-esteem, and yet you might want him along on a trip to the astral plane, say, or a tour of the human genome. Mullis is a fascinating character and his autobiography will put to rest forever the stereotype of scientist as skeptical nerd. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

When biochemist Mullis won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993, the press played up his being the first surfer laureate, as well as the first to admit having used LSD. In this collection of essays, Mullis reveals that he also encountered a woman who saved his life while cruising over him on the astral plane, as well as an extraterrestrial who seems to have been a cross between a raccoon and E.T. Mullis argues passionately against the commercialization of science, by which unorthodox but promising ideas fall victim to grantsmanship and marketing; against the assertion that the HIV virus is the cause of AIDS (Mullis insists this theory is still not backed by sufficient evidence); and against the outlawing of psychoactive substances without giving scientists time to study their effects on the nervous system. Mullis was an expert witness on the DNA evidence at the O.J. Simpson trial, although he wasn't called upon to testify. Here, he gives his take on personalities in the trial and explains why he thinks the LAPD's handling of the blood samples was like running a "one-man line-up." Some of Mullis's opinions, like his slightly muddled critique of global warming and his defense of astrology (he didn't receive the Nobel for his work in astrophysics), come across as just plain cranky, in various senses of the word. But whether or not readers agree with Mullis or believe all the details in his accounts of some of his experiences, his eccentric and often insightful opinions about science and life in general will challenge them to reexamine their own beliefs.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Fantastic personal life stories of Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis.
Stomperud
Therefore, read this book, enjoy it, and don't believe any of it just because Mullis says it's so.
Craig MACKINNON
In another chapter he maintains that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.
Christopher Carter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Walter V. Cicha on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first heard of Kary Mullis in 1994, when I read his Chemistry Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Angewandte Chemie, my favorite Chemistry journal. I was then still employed as a researcher with the company that gave us better living through chemistry. I ended up reading the multi-thousand word account of his speech three times, without pause. It was simply brilliant, yet hardly had a word of science in it! Instead, it talked about what it means to be alive and human. I have read "Dancing Naked in The Mind Fields" in two sittings since its arrival at my door earlier this week. It does have science in it, but a whole lot more of other things. It also deals with living and being human. All of it is worth reading, re-reading, digesting, and learning. A more compact course in critical thinking does not exist. Nor a more humorous one. Nor a more honest one. Dr. Mullis is one of those extremely rare human beings that truly can be classified as a genius. He is equally at home at the forefront of DNA research as he is on his surfboard, at a nightclub, or studying up on planetary motion and its relation to the diversity in human personalities. There is nothing too preposterous for him to rigorously investigate (and often attempt) and learn something valuable from, just as there are very few "truths" that we all accept in which he cannot find some fundamental fallacy. These include "truths" presented to us by the dogmatic kingdom of post WWII science.Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Reading Dancing Naked in the mind Field may not have change my life, but reading it defifitely made my day much better. I found this book while looking for another book in the science section of our local bookstore. I opened the cover and read the first few pages, from there I couldn't put the book down, and I ended up finishing the book while I drank coffee in the bookstore. The book might not be very focused on his discover of PCR, but it was very entertaining. At some points I even caught myself laughing out loud, causing a little disturbance to the other people around me. Even though most reviews have said that Kary has an ego, he talks about his life as if he is very down to earth. He met the Empress of Japan...so what? That's his attitude. He seems to know that we are all just people... even Queens and Kings. Kary shous us in 200 pages that you can win a Nobel Prize and still enjoy life's simple pleasures.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Walter V. Cicha on April 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
I first heard of Kary Mullis in 1994, when I read his Chemistry Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Angewandte Chemie, my favorite Chemistry journal. I was then still employed as a researcher with the company that gave us better living through chemistry. I ended up reading the multi-thousand word account of his speech three times, without pause. It was simply brilliant, yet hardly had a word of science in it! Instead, it focused on what it means to be alive and human. I read "Dancing Naked in The Mind Field" in two sittings when it arrived at my door a few weeks ago. It has much science in it, and a whole lot more of other things. It also deals with the excitement and challenges of living and being human. All of it is worth reading, re-reading, digesting, and learning. A more compact course in critical thinking does not exist. Nor a more humorous one. Dr. Mullis is one of those extremely rare human beings that truly can be classified as a genius. He is equally at home at the forefront of DNA research as he is on his surfboard, at a nightclub, or studying up on planetary motion and its relation to the diversity in human personalities. There is nothing too preposterous for him to rigorously investigate and often attempt, while there appear to be very few commonly accepted "truths" in which he cannot find some fundamental fallacy. These include "truths" handed to us from the dogmatic kingdom of post WWII science. His many anecdotes -- from his curious adventures as a boy to his often hilarious encounters as a world famous scientist -- leave the reader fluctuating between uncontrollable fits of laughter and a deeply serious concern for our over-regulated and blatantly unethical world. Reading Dr.Read more ›
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Theri (cl-theri@ivillage.com) on November 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
What's wrong with entertainment with a lil science thrown in for good measure. Gosh! You'd think this guy won a Nobel prize or something. He's an out-of-the-box thinker with ideas that may be hard for some of us to phantom. Does that make them pathetic/inflated? He talks about his adventures albeit some (most?) are misadventures. Does that make him egotistical/self serving? It is an autobiography, isn't it?
What I found from reading *Dancing Naked* is an UNDERSTANDING of some scientific stuff and the delightful realization that people are just, well, people-with some faults and some promising *worth-whileness* all rolled into one person.
Few of us live our lives to the fullest. Kary Mullis apparently does. I'd slap high fives with him any day!
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