- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (January 4, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679774009
- ISBN-13: 978-0679774006
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 113 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Dancing Naked in the Mind Field Paperback – January 4, 2000
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"Delightful . . . joyous . . . an autobiography of the nervous system of an extraordinary chemist." --The New York Times Book Review
"One of the most mind-stretching and inspirational books I've read for a long time." --Arthur C. Clarke
"Kary Mullis, perhaps the weirdest human ever to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, [has written] a chatty, rambling, funny, iconoclastic tour through the wonderland that is [his] mind." --The Washington Post
From the Inside Flap
Here is a multidimensional playland of ideas from the world's most eccentric Nobel-Prize winning scientist. Kary Mullis is legendary for his invention of PCR, which redefined the world of DNA, genetics, and forensic science. He is also a surfer, a veteran of Berkeley in the sixties, and perhaps the only Nobel laureate to describe a possible encounter with aliens. A scientist of boundless curiosity, he refuses to accept any proposition based on secondhand or hearsay evidence, and always looks for the "money trail" when scientists make announcements.
Mullis writes with passion and humor about a wide range of topics: from global warming to the O. J. Simpson trial, from poisonous spiders to HIV, from scientific method to astrology. Dancing Naked in the Mind Field challenges us to question the authority of scientific dogma even as it reveals the workings of an uncannily original scientific mind.
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-8 of 113 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Reviewers who describe Mullis as a sloppy, irresponsible scientist who just got lucky need to reflect on the fact that he was recruited by Cetus (the company he was working at when he developed PCR), which also saw fit to put him in charge of a research team. This was all before the Nobel prize; he was making traditional professional progress without celebrity.
One of the things that's clear from the book is that Mullis has a deep life-long concern with systemic power structures and the way they warp both our lives and scientific research. So, for example, critics of his views on HIV/AIDS fail to see that he took a position on the topic after one of his friends was ostracized from the professional community for having the "wrong" views in the early days when AIDS research was new and less settled. The same is true of the OJ Simpson trial, which excited Mullis less because he thought so highly of OJ than because he wanted a chance to take down the enormous and overwhelmingly powerful bureaucracy of the LA prosecutor's office. Likewise, astrology is less about whether the stars affect our personality than about the largely unscientific and ineffective field of mental health.
The other face of Mullis' anti-institutional views is a type of humanism, which leads him to say things that, frankly, make perfect sense to me. NASA spends huge amounts of money on the shuttle program and international space station. What the heck are we getting out of it? Why don't we focus first on figuring out how to protect ourselves from natural threats (like the decimation of life from an asteroid impact) before figuring out how to set up a Mars colony. A Mars colony might be exciting, but it's not very practical and isn't doing anything for the man on the street. At one point, he suggests we might just be better off with priests of medieval religion than with priests of modern science. This is similar to the criticisms Nassim Taleb has been making of our priests of Wall Street, and I think it makes sense.
The writing is fast-moving and humor-filled, although inconsistent. I don't know who came up with the clunky title, but most of the book is wittier. He discusses the fact that his wife Nancy encouraged him in writing this book and then edited it. Some parts about PCR are dumbed down versions of his Nobel Prize lecture, so I suspect his wife encouraged him to write something that would be accessible to the general public but still get across his message that we should turn off the TV, do good science, and enjoy the ride.
He will tick you off.
The part that bugs me are the contradictions. Global warming is junk science...yet astrology, the astral plain and ESP are fields that warrant more serious research. Riiiiiight.
In general, I think Mr. Mullis is a thoroughly honest, imperfect man that has done a lot of great work to help mankind. That's about the best anyone can do.