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Passionate Minds: The Inner World of Scientists [Hardcover]

Lewis Wolpert , Alison Richards


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Book Description

April 23, 1998 0198549040 978-0198549048
In this endlessly engaging volume, biologist Lewis Wolpert lets readers sit in as he talks with 23 of the world's leading scientists. What is day-to-day life like for a scientist? How have they hit upon their most important discoveries? What is the nature of scientific creativity?
Here, in this stimulating series of conversations, such eminent scientists as Murray Gell-Man, Jared Diamond, Gerald Edelman, Richard Lewontin, Roald Hoffman, and Carlo Rubbia talk candidly about their backgrounds, their careers, the people who have influenced or inspired them, and their most significant findings. We learn, for instance, how being an outsider or an "innocent" can play an invaluable role in overcoming conventional barriers to a new understanding. Indeed, even being a little crazy seems to help. As Nobel laureate Sheldon Glashow says, "if you would simply take all the kookiest ideas of the early 1970s and put them together, you would have made for yourself the theory which is, in fact, the correct theory of nature."
These conversations brim with insights into the minds of some of the great men and women of modern science. They offer as well an illuminating glimpse into the nature of scientific discovery.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Physicist and historian, theoretical chemist and poet, physiologist and evolutionary biologist, immunologist and neurobiologist, chemist and novelistAone of the most interesting aspects of this engrossing collection of interviews with some of the world's eminent scientists is that many of the subjects are distinguished by the possession of not just a singular m?tier, but two. Thus Carl Djerassi, the chemist and novelist, is as comfortably loquacious on the subject of the birth control pill, which he virtually invented, as he is on his novels. In this sequel to A Passion for Science (Oxford Univ., 1989. o.p.), scientist Wolpert and BBC radio producer Richards pose thoughtful, unexpected questions, which are met with equally thoughtful, candid responses that help illuminate the motivation and personal processesAe.g., the rationally creative, the intuitively creativeAsuch as involved in the workings of the likes of Djerassi, Murray Gell-Mann, Ronald Hoffman, James Lighthill, Nicole Le Dourain, and 19 other acclaimed scientific minds. A fascinating book for informed lay readers and scholars.ARobert Ballou, Atlanta
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

`Someone actually interested in science proper would profit hugely from Passionate Minds by Lewis Wolpert and Alison Richards..a series of mesmerising interviews with living, working makers of the modern world' The Guardian christmas section

`I was enthralled by the encapsulated biographies tweaked from their vessels by conversational nudges from Wolpert, who delicately and unobtrusively guides the conversations in directions that provide sometimes charming, sometimes deep insights into the springs of creativity' Nature

`I found a delight on every page, and warmly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the human side of science...this book is a hugely enjoyable and instructive read' Nature

`This is a wonderful and truly illuminating collection of interviews cum essays' THES

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