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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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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
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Rather than citing just the bare facts, Robin Marantz Henig writes like a novelist. She interweaves the scientific debates before, during, and after Mendel's time with the importance of his discovery. Mendel had no model to follow, no fellow researchers to encourage him, no context into which to put his research, and no vocabulary to describe the genetics he was documenting. His paper on the subject was largely ignored... and then rediscovered 35 years later.
Perhaps Mendel got a lucky break in choosing Moravian peas because their characteristics were readily identifiable. Or perhaps it is those characteristics, seed color, seed texture, plant height, that caused him find his work.
In modern times it can be seen as rather ironic that the initial work in genetics, the work that was needed to support Darwin, was developed by a monk in a monastery. But monks were the conservers of all the great ancient works. Their monasteries contained the libraries of Europe throughout the middle ages. The monks were the literate class. St. Augustine stated that you talk to God when you pray, but God talks to you when you read. And Mendel's monastery followed Augustinian doctrine.
That quiet isolation and contemplation may also have been essential to conducting the work. Growing and recording peas does not seem stimulating. Henig writes "By the time Mendel was done with this succession of crosses, recrosses, and backcrosses, he must have counted a total of more than 10,000 plants, 40,000 blossoms, and a staggering 300,000 peas.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
thank you for delivering it so quick, this is one of the best non-fiction ever writtenPublished 10 months ago by Elaine Khodorkovsky
This book arrived in good condition; however, I found it too technical for me. I think someone who has more science background might enjoy it.Published on February 3, 2013 by Irene Stevens
This book contains a great story and one of the most complete pictures of Mendel and his experiments I've ever seen. Read morePublished on January 5, 2012 by Starla
Not much is known about Gregor Mendel. This book gives the reader a taste of his life, including the famous pea plant experiments. Read morePublished on February 14, 2010 by Whatisreal
We don't have a great deal of contemporaneous documentation to illuminate the life and work of the Moravian Augustinian monk, Gregor Johann Mendel, the `father of modern genetics. Read morePublished on February 24, 2009 by Wesley L. Janssen
what a great book. i am so touched. i considered myself fairly educated and still i got a few things out of this book. the book is very entertaining to read as well. Read morePublished on October 30, 2008 by I. Wong