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Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code (Eminent Lives) Paperback – Bargain Price, November 3, 2009
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Matt Ridley's biography traces Crick's life from middle-class mediocrity in the English Midlands, through a lackluster education and six years designing magnetic mines for the Royal Navy, to his leap into biology at the age of thirty-one. While at Cambridge, he suddenly began to display the unique visual imagination and intense tenacity of thought that would allow him to see the solutions to several great scientific conundrums--and to see them long before most biologists had even conceived of the problems. Having set out to determine what makes living creatures alive and having succeeded, he immigrated at age sixty to California and turned his attention to the second question that had fascinated him since his youth: What makes conscious creatures conscious? Time ran out before he could find the answer.
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Ridley weighs in on the well-known, controversial, mysterious and misunderstood aspects of the discovery of DNA. He includes sane descriptions and analyses of Crick's storied colleagues -Watson, Wilkins, Franklin, Brenner, Orgel, and many others. Ridley's treatment of Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, Pauling, Chargaff and others involved in the controversial steps toward the discovery of DNA is well worth a look.Read more ›
Watson had previously told the story of the discovery of the DNA structure in his book The Double Helix, but in his version, he tried to present the events as he saw them when he was living through them. Ridley gives a more objective picture and he also has a lot of information that Watson had to omit because he didn't know it at the time. Ridley's is far better as science history; Watson's is a helluva lot better story.
Watson and Crick approached the question of DNA structure with different motives. As Watson tells it - and his story rings true in this regard - he was a young, unknown scientist looking for a project that would establish him as more than just a bright post-doc. Crick, a militant atheist, wanted to show that there was some important aspect of life that could be explained without resorting to the hypothesis of God. (Numerous people had already done this; Crick wanted to extend the work in some significant way.) DNA was perfect for both men. Significantly, it was Crick who insisted on including a line in the original letter to Nature saying that the structure suggested a method for replication.
With the double helix nailed down, Watson could say "Mission Accomplished" and devote some energy to his next major project: looking for a wife. (That's how he tells it in the sequel.) For Crick however, the job had barely begun. To make his point, he had to show how DNA did its job, using only the laws of chemistry.Read more ›
I found the first half of the book as interesting as The Double Helix. Ridley does a fine job of spelling out Crick’s earlier life, his incredibly outgoing personality, his personal mannerisms that often irritated his colleagues, and his ability to do his best work through dialogue with deep intellectual partners such as Watson and Sydney Brenner.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A review of ‘Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code by Matt Ridley
CITATION: Ridley, M. (2006). Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code. Read more
An entertaining tale of probably the best visual intuitive of the last century. He worked in a field where his gifts continue to benefit humanity. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Troy Fergen
A page turner for me after page 15 or so. A science whodunnit.Published 11 months ago by Douglas L Cone
Reading about Dr. Francis Crick, one of the greatest scientist ever, is educative and a pleasure. Matt Riddley makes it enjoyable.Published on June 12, 2013 by Almerio Barros Franca
Matt Ridley is one of my most favoured authors. The vast array of topics, ethology, anthropology, genetics, biology, sociology, psychology, economics, and philosophy rolled into... Read morePublished on June 3, 2012 by Robtheprofessional
This book is a short yet very lucid, and very insightful in some places, of a marvelous scientific life -- that of Francis Crick. Read morePublished on July 3, 2010 by Charles Q. Wu (吴全丰)
Discovery of the secret of the gene (and `life' according to Crick) is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating episodes of the history of science! Read morePublished on April 4, 2010 by Saak V. Ovsepian