- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books (May 12, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0618127410
- ISBN-13: 978-0618127412
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics Paperback – May 12, 2001
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The Moravian monk and naturalist Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) labored quietly over the years in his abbey's garden, becoming known locally as a reliable meteorologist with an unusually green thumb. He was much more than that, of course, but his transforming experiments in what a later acolyte would call "genetics" were less well known. When he published the results of his many attempts to discover the mechanisms by which traits are passed from one generation to the next--in Mendel's case, in sweet peas--it was in the proceedings of a local scientific study group, and it would take nearly two decades before researchers in more august institutions would in turn discover Mendel's work and apply it to their own revolutionizing biology in the process.
Mendel's life was full of disappointments: he failed his qualifying examinations to teach high school several times, and he had trouble getting the scientific establishment of his day to take him seriously. In her lucid, often moving life of the great (and to all purposes self-taught) scientist, Robin Marantz Henig gives readers a view of the deeply religious man himself and of his work not only in the context of his time but also in light of recent developments in the constantly changing field of genetics. Taking issue with historians of science who have sought to discount Mendel's contributions to the field, she makes a well-defended claim that the monk in his small garden should be honored as a genius: "a man with a vision and the dedication to carry it to its brilliant, radical conclusion." Her book is a fitting, and very welcome, memorial. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
The author of numerous books (e.g., A Dancing Matrix: How Science Confronts Emerging Viruses) and articles on popular science and medicine, Henig here recounts the life of Gregor Mendel, the 19th-century monk who laid the groundwork for modern genetics through his pea-breeding experiments. Instead of using the standard biographical form, the author, who describes her writing as "educated deduction," employs a more descriptive, narrative style a few steps removed from the currently popular fictional biography. Very little information exists about Mendel, many of whose papers were burned after his death, and Henig fills in the blanks with probable scenarios. She paints an exceptionally human portrait of the monk that falls between the inflated hero and the beneficiary of lucky accidents. Henig's Mendel is a realistic compromise, a man who experienced failures and successes through intuition, luck (good and bad), and hard work. General readers will find the story very engaging, and the introduction to genetic theories is clearly outlined. This work will not be as appealing to scientists, who may take issue with "filling in the blanks" and the simplified discussion of genetics. Recommended for the general science collections of all public and academic libraries.DMarianne Stowell Bracke, Univ. of Houston Libs.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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