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The Nobel Duel Hardcover – September, 1981

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Editorial Reviews

The Nobel Duel is a blow-by-blow account of a closely fought twenty-one year race between scientists Andrew Schally and Roger Guillemin which culminated in their sharing the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1977. Nicholas Wade interweaves the history of an idea -- how the brain controls the body's hormonal system --with the personal history of these two researchers whose work was closely followed by the scientific community in conference journals and science publications. Wade presents scientific research in way that it is rarely seen -- as a human activity. He takes us behind the scenes, explaining each step in the race to discovery. As Wade points out, in the scientific community, discovery without priority is almost worse than nothing. The Guillemin and Schally contest also highlights the vast administrative panoply of the scientific enterprise. With millions of dollars in research funding and with incredible perseverance for two decades, they achieved success, the two teams identifying the TRF hormone in the brain within days of each other. This remarkable chapter in the history of modern biology takes us behind the façade to show us scientists as people with human passions and failings.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (September 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385149816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385149815
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,293,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Nicholas Wade is the author of three books about recent human evolution. They are addressed to the general reader interested in knowing what the evolutionary past tells us about human nature and society today.
One, Before the Dawn, published in 2006, traces how people have evolved during the last 50,000 years.
The second book, The Faith Instinct (2009), argues that because of the survival advantage of religion, an instinct for religious behavior was favored by natural selection among early human societies and became universal in all their descendants.
A Troublesome Inheritance (2014), the third of the trilogy, looks at how human races evolved.
Wade was born in Aylesbury, England, and educated at Eton and at King's College, Cambridge, where he studied natural sciences. He became a journalist writing about scientific issues, and has worked at Nature and Science, two weekly scientific magazines, and on the New York Times.





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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was a member of Roger Guillemin's Nobel Prize winning research team for several years at the Salk Institute, and was later invited to also work with and in the laboratory of the Nobel-laureate Andrew Schally at Tulane University/Veterans Administration Medical Center in New Orleans for several more years. As far as we know, I am the only one who was a member of both teams for years each. I know what happened because I was directly involved in a little more than the last half of the book. I have also conducted research in other similar laboratories, both independently and collaboratively for decades. Nicholas Wade wrote more about the spirit of the activities which occurred, as compared with what actually happened. This book did provide, however, some insight into the almost incomprehensible pressures, the phenomenal strivings toward a stellar goal (reaching for the stars), the dreams and the unimaginably grueling work (24 hours a day, 7 days a week - nonstop) which inherently resides at these intellectual levels, and did in our research groups. I felt, however, that THE NOBEL DUEL did not go far enough in some instances, and was simply incorrect in other instances. This book does, however, provide the general public with a glimmer of what it is like at these levels, and what is involved in winning the most coveted research award in the world, The Nobel Prize (in Medicine/ Physiology).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating blend of actual science and human passion and spirit. Scientific research used to seem so cold and unhuman but after reading this book, you realize that many people put all of their lives...money, heart and soul...into the pursuit of science and in this case, the Nobel Prize. Makes for fine reading.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Zampino VINE VOICE on March 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
. . .of the behind-the-scenes research activities and fierce competition behind two teams of scientists both on the same 'track', racing for the greatest scientific prize of them all -- the Nobel. One thing is certain -- human nature is as evident in the laboratory as it is everywhere else!
Having had a long friendship with the lead chemist to one of the teams, the late Roger Burgus, led even more enjoyment to this book.
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