- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1st edition (April 30, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674011082
- ISBN-13: 978-0674011083
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,788,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Tangled Field: Barbara McClintock's Search for the Patterns of Genetic Control 1st Edition
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From Library Journal
Barbara McClintock received the Nobel prize in 1983 at age 81 for her work in corn genetics. Evelyn Fox Keller's biography of McClintock, A Feeling for the Organism, was published that same year. This current study by the deputy director of the Center for History of Recent Science, George Washington University, argues that Keller's description of McClintock's milieu and, indeed, McClintock's own description of her role in scientific society were often at odds with reality. Comfort suggests that rather than being a loner and maverick who served as a target of bias and narrow-mindedness, McClintock was always well respected and remained a distinguished figure in the scientific community until her death in 1992. The author develops several themes to explain McClintock's life, among them her need for independence and control over her own work. He also goes to great pains to explain the significance of her work at each stage. What he does not demonstrate is whether there really was substantial understanding of her work at the time that it was done. Certainly, after major development in related fields such as molecular biology, her early ideas were more appreciated. Regardless, this is an interesting work that provides insight into McClintock's work and personality. For academic libraries. Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
McClintock was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in 1983 when she was 81 for her groundbreaking work in maize genetics performed decades earlier, and since then, she's been shrouded in myth. Comfort, the first biographer to have access to McClintock's papers, seeks to clarify her complex achievements in unveiling chromosomal behavior, which are not well understood, partly because of her famously quirky rhetorical style, her penchant for working alone, and the sad truth that, ultimately, she failed to fully realize the implications of her dazzling discoveries. Lucid, engaging, and unafraid of controversy, Comfort also dismantles the popular image of McClintock as a mystic and a female pioneer marginalized by male scientists. He portrays instead a highly respected and dedicated professional adamant about maintaining her personal and intellectual freedom, who possessed an astonishing attunement to complexity and pattern and a protean ability to rapidly solve intricate, multidimensional problems. McClintock may have been waylaid in the tangles of her brilliant, paradigm-challenging theories, but she was a unique, jaunty, and hardworking genius whose visionary experiments were essential to the evolution of genetics. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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