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Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend...

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

Another review of Heroes & Scoundrels just in:

Physician Dolan follows up Boneheads and Brainiacs with this fascinating study of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine from 1951 to 1975.

The subjects run the gamut from altruists and humanitarians to “card-carrying” Nazis and “famous” racists: Werner Forssmann, one of three winners in 1956 for research on heart catheterization, was aware of the Nazi regime’s atrocities as they were happening but continued wearing his Nazi badge to avoid being “professionally ruined and impoverished.”

Frank Burnet, who won in 1960 for work on the immune system, advocated for eugenics and the removal of literary studies from schools (he felt it was a waste of time).

On the other hand, a 1969 winner, Salvador Luria, who studied bacteria, was an anti-war activist, and Christian deDuve, who won in 1974 for work on cell structure, was drafted to fight Nazi forces in Belgium.

Most fascinating are the sidebars on women scientists—including Marianne Grunberg-Manago, who discovered messenger RNA, and Marguerite Vogt, who studied cancer and viruses—whose work was credited to their male co-researchers.

This wide-ranging look at the lives behind the discoveries is just right for pop-science fans.


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