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Apprentice to Genius: The Making of a Scientific Dynasty Paperback – November 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Corporate mentors are well known. Less visible are the "mentor chains" that from generation to generation produce eminent scientists. Kanigel traces one such chain in neuroscience and neuropharmacology that accounts for such resarchers as Steve Brodie, Julius Axelrod, Sol Snyder, and Candace Pertall brilliant scientists whose relations are characterized by camaraderie, envy, and frustration. The author's thesis is that participation in elite science through mentor chains provides more than grants, access to laboratories, and awards. It instills the ability to critically and creatively strike at the heart of a research question. An exciting story of discovery that evenly handles the inevitable conflicts. Recommended. Michael D. Cramer, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ. Lib., Blacksburg
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A beguiling combination of sociological and scientific scholarship, straight reporting and titillating voyeurism.

(Isis)

Making extensive use of interviews and anecdote, Kanigel depicts how, in a mentor-to-protege chain starting with James Shannon and moving to Bernard Brodie and then to Julius Axelrod, the legacy of creativity and empirical style has passed to Snyder and then to Pert.

(Science)

As compelling as a Jackie Collins novel, though with bigger words.

(Chicago Tribune)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (November 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801847575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801847578
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #469,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While seemingly on a mundane and complicated subject (pharmacology and its researchers), it is an easy read for any layman and very, very interesting (especially on the topic of malaria medications and their discovery and problems)... Very interesting how hitching your star to the right person can make your career...and how pettiness and back-stabbing can be so cruel and counterproductive... A very, very good read for anyone even remotely interested in science...
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Format: Paperback
Several years ago, my former mentor circulated this book in the lab. Until quite recently, my friends still found me quoting from it while talking about scientific ideas. Now, after reading the book for many times, and studying the characteristics of great mentors around me, I conclude that it's a marvelous book. Anyone who plan to have a bright scientific career should read this book. My only dissatisfaction is the book is so old. I demand a new edition or a sequel! And, I want more examples of such lineage of excellent scientists as described in the book.Surely, it's book that I will share with my student.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How many books are there which talk about scientific mentoring? So very few. This book gives vivid portraits of how top-flight scientists pass down their "research genes" by mentoring their apprentices. This book gives the readers the inside look of the research lives of these prominent scientists and their disciples. Of course, not all things are glorious, but throughout the book, the author brought out the theme again and again that mentoring is essential to the producing of next generation of outstanding achievers.

This book should be read by every bright and ambitious graduate student and postdoc. Do you want to achieve greatness? Do you want to learn how to do great research? Attach yourself to a great scientist! Julius Axelrod, the 1970 Nobel Laureate, has a saying: "99% of the discoveries are made by 1% of the scientists." Sociologist Harriet Zuckerman reported that the single factor that most clearly differentiated Nobel laureates from outstanding but lesser scientists was training with another Nobel laureate. Thus, the importance of mentoring cannot be overstated for a young budding scientist!

This book should be read by every top scientist in the world. Your legacy lies not just in your individual achievement, but also in passing down your "research genes" to the next generation and thus greatly magnifying your legacy.

The author should be applauded for such a monumental work!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read for anybody interested in medical research, the early days of the NIH and the virtues of perserverance.Julie Axelrod,failed to gain admission to med school due to mediocre grades as a Pre-med and racial quotas against jews in the early 1900's. He lost an eye due to an Ammonia lab explosion at 23.He spent 10yrs in a dead end job testing chemical ingredients in food.Nevertheless, he loved science.Went to night classes and obtained a Masters in Chemistry.He worked as a lab rat for a PI that stole his work and gave him zero credit.He took courage, at 42, despite being married and having 2 kids and took steps towards obtaining a PhD.Armed with a PhD, he embarked on research that revolutionized Pharmacology and the fundamental understanding of the transport of molecules in neuronal tissues.His determination, perserverance and hard work earned him a share of the nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine.
As someone interested in the uptake of molecules in cells and consequences for disease and Pathology, I found this book to be truly incredible. It's also true inspiration as I seek to find ways to use my Chemical Engineering background to find cures for diseases that afflict mankind and hopefully relieve human suffering .I recommend it to anybody interested in Physiology, Medicine, Pharmacology, the Politics of lab research etc.,I especially recommend it to women in research.There's a scene about a famous female researcher and how her contributions to pioneering research were stolen by her PI-who took all credit, enjoyed all the accolades, and never acknowledged the significant contributions made by the female student researcher.This is a must read for any serious future resarch scientist, or anybody that truly loves science.An extra bonus if you are familiar with DC and expecially the Rockville, Bethesda area. Lots of nuggets about pre-NIH , I-270 corridor.
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