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Prize Fight: The Race and the Rivalry to be the First in Science (MacSci) Hardcover – June 5, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0230338906 ISBN-10: 0230338909 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: MacSci
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; 1 edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230338909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230338906
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Politicians and financiers are hardly the only professionals whose psychic flaws may propel them into the stratosphere. Men and women of science routinely fly high with the same fuel, despite various professional codes and the invariable assertion that they do what they do for the lasting benefit of mankind. In 'Prize Fight,' Dr. Morton A. Meyers presents a comprehensive catalog of the inglorious behaviors provoked by this love of others.”—The New York Times

“Meyers analyzes how credit has been doled out in major scientific discoveries, including the creation of MRI and the development of streptomycin, the first antibiotic against tuberculosis. Readers come away with an enhanced understanding of the conflicting impulses that drive sci­entists and of the historical context behind present-day research scandals.”—Scientific American, Recommended Books

“Meyers, a magnificent storyteller, chronicles several feuds, especially over the winner of the ultimate prize, the Nobel...Prize Fight is a delicious, insightful view into the underbelly of the medical world and deserves a large readership...Highly recommended”--Choice

“Meyers’ perceptive book will engage readers interested in the ethics and emotions of scientific

research.”--Booklist

“This book helps keep scientists honest."--Library Journal

"The first book to examine the prevalence of disputes over recognition and reward in modern science."--Robert Root-Bernstein, author of Spark of Genius

“Meyers brings personal knowledge of one of medicine's longest running feuds to illuminate an area of science that often seems more dominated by the politics of power than by the excitement of discovery.”-- Sharon McGrayne, author of The Theory That Would Not Die

“This well-written book includes a series of eye-opening case studies of acrimonious conflicts over credit for scientific discoveries.”--James E. Till, Albert Lasker Award winner for the codiscovery of stem cells

“A thought-provoking examination of the political side of high-stakes science.”—Kirkus Reviews

"Scientists behave very badly indeed in this bracing polemic about endemic theft, fraud, and greed in the hallowed halls of science."--John Seabrook, New Yorker staff writer and author of Flash of Genius

About the Author

Morton A. Meyers, MD is Distinguished University Professor and emeritus chair of the Department of Radiology in the School of Medicine SUNY, Stony Brook. He is the author of the seminal textbook on abdominal radiology (now in its sixth edition) that has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese editions and has worldwide sales total over 50,000, and is the founding editor in chief of the international journal Abdominal Imaging.  The author of award-winning Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs, he lives in Stonybrook, New York.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
It is eye-opening, instructive and so much fun to read.
george
What I found was a series of fascinating case histories of the Nobel winners--and the losers--in physiology and medicine.
CookieH
Morton Meyers couldn’t tell us if Paul had lied through his teeth.
Mohammad R Awal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Terry Teays on July 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a fairly good book about the problems of assigning roles that contributed to a discovery and the issues of giving out awards for them. The book largely focuses on medical stories, since that is of most interest to the author. Given that this is a realm where serious financial consequences can result from who gets credit. There is brief mention of other subjects, but it does focus on two main case studies. If anyone wasn't aware of the fact that scientists are human and can be on major ego trips, then this book will enlighten them. As a scientist, I was already familiar with the headlines of the stories, but there were many details provided. The author definitely gives a balanced picture of both sides in the main stories (enough to conclude, in some cases, that both parties to the dispute over credit were jerks. The discusion is well documented, with careful references and notes. The style, however, was a bit of a drawback. The narrative rambled a bit, and wasn't well organized in terms of getting the story delivered and making the salient points of the debated credit issue. The issue about Jocelyn Bell seemed to get short shrift, in part, because there wasn't a prolonged fight or dramatic carrying on about the decision of the Nobel committee. Anyone who has sat on a prize panel will realize that it is frequently a difficult decision, and usually there are variations on the decision that could have been made with almost equal validity, but the task is to make the best decision. Readers may want to contrast these stories to the book Darwin's Ghosts, which talks about the anguish that Darwin went through to be sure that all his predecessors got credit. This is based on the Kindle edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mohammad R Awal on April 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Dr. M. Rafiqul Awal (dr.rafiqul.awal@gmail.com)
I have bought the book twice and read twice, esp. the sad saga on MRI. Cool facts, hitherto unknown, researched and served in this rare-of-its-kind book by Prof. Morton Meyers have given us thought provoking stories that are as important as the great contributions that Nobel-recognized discoveries and inventions have given to our civilization! The very brief reference to the crucial contributions of Dr. Waylon V. House has been testified to me by Dr. House himself, who's now my colleague at Texas Tech (Dept of Petroleum Engineering). I have heard the "rest of the story", right from the horse’s mouth, that I wish Prof. Meyers could include in this book. The untold yet very important story relates to the design conceptions, invention and fabrication of key technology hardware and software that modern MRI needed to be born, and these were NOT done by the “official” inventor—Prof. Paul Lauterbur. It was the young and genius that MIT had produced--Waylon to be precise, that Paul had to approach and employ as a post doctorate. Working with another genius, Ching-Ming Lai, Waylon built the complete MRI machine, and took the FIRST modern MRI image of a jalapeno that knocked the socks off those attending the first press conference addressed by Paul to herald to the world about the birth of modern MRI. Yet when asked by journalists if there were some other bright minds behind this birth, Paul answered in the negative. The author, Prof. Morton Meyers couldn’t tell us if Paul had lied through his teeth. But Waylon is still alive, not fuming in rage at Paul but opting to bury his sad saga. I am truly privileged to have earned his friendship that led to a long audience from him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CookieH on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was attracted to the title by its implications of the politics and personalities behind the awarding of the most prestigious prize in science--the Nobel. What I found was a series of fascinating case histories of the Nobel winners--and the losers--in physiology and medicine. The writing style is elegant and witty; the stories unfold in true narratives, with suspense, good guys and bad, and the so-called neutrality and disinterested search for scientific innovation revealed as an idealistic myth. In truth it is as self-interested and as mean-spirited as any other competitive human endeavor.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the Nobel Prize is about to be announced in each of it's respective fields perhaps now is the time to ponder the topics raised by Dr. Morton Meyers in his latest book which illuminates the struggles inherent in scientific discovery and the accompanying drive for recognition. The relationships of individuals and their employing institutions, students and their mentors, while conducting their research seems symbiotic. Ego with it's drive for acclaim can be positive as it encourages results but it can drive some to unscrupulous actions in their desire to gain the largest prize.

It would seem fair to encourage transparency so contributing individuals do not become anonymous in this process. The individual and the institution obviously need each other. I especially found his suggestions on how conflicts might be avoided or mitigated, enlightening and constructive. The hope is that it leads to the most fertile ground for ideas and their manifestation.
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