Catalogue


Ahead of the curve : David Baltimore's life in science /
Shane Crotty.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2001.
description
270 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520225570 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2001.
isbn
0520225570 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
4577273
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"A thoroughly researched, vivid, and accessible portrait of one of the towering intellectual figures of our time, David Baltimore: his life, his politics, his driving ambition, his stunning self-confidence."--Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams and The Diagnosis, National Book Award Nominee "A fascinating history of the life and science of one of the twentieth century's most important scientists. What drove Baltimore to a Nobel Prize, the establishment of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and the presidency of both Rockefeller and Caltech? This first book by a promising young writer provides a large part of the story."--Phillip A. Sharp, 1993 Nobel Prize winner and Cancer Institute Professor, MIT "This is the story of one of the most extraordinary lives in science today. David Baltimore has done Nobel-prize-winning work on viruses and cancer, he has led three of the world's great centers of biological research, and he has endured a tragicomic Star Chamber trial in Washington, a trial in which the nature of science and politics were illuminated in harsh and sometimes glary lights. I hope an Arthur Miller or a Jonathan Miller reads this book, registers the drama of this story, and puts it on the stage."--Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Beak of the Finch "I enjoyed the book immensely. Shane Crotty writes with the drive and energy characteristic of his subject, David Baltimore, capturing the pulse of the life and times of a great scientist whose life has not only been spiked with the exhilaration of scientific discovery, but enmeshed in public science policy and politics and concerned with the building of great institutions."--Thomas Cech, Nobel laureate and President, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Flap Copy
"A thoroughly researched, vivid, and accessible portrait of one of the towering intellectual figures of our time, David Baltimore: his life, his politics, his driving ambition, his stunning self-confidence."--Alan Lightman, author ofEinstein's DreamsandThe Diagnosis,National Book Award Nominee "A fascinating history of the life and science of one of the twentieth century's most important scientists. What drove Baltimore to a Nobel Prize, the establishment of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and the presidency of both Rockefeller and Caltech? This first book by a promising young writer provides a large part of the story."--Phillip A. Sharp, 1993 Nobel Prize winner and Cancer Institute Professor, MIT "This is the story of one of the most extraordinary lives in science today. David Baltimore has done Nobel-prize-winning work on viruses and cancer, he has led three of the world's great centers of biological research, and he has endured a tragicomic Star Chamber trial in Washington, a trial in which the nature of science and politics were illuminated in harsh and sometimes glary lights. I hope an Arthur Miller or a Jonathan Miller reads this book, registers the drama of this story, and puts it on the stage."--Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Beak of the Finch "I enjoyed the book immensely. Shane Crotty writes with the drive and energy characteristic of his subject, David Baltimore, capturing the pulse of the life and times of a great scientist whose life has not only been spiked with the exhilaration of scientific discovery, but enmeshed in public science policy and politics and concerned with the building of great institutions."--Thomas Cech, Nobel laureate and President, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2001-03-19:
Nobel Prize winner Baltimore has had a remarkable influence on 20th-century biology. As one colleague has stated, "It is not an exaggeration to say that one could write a pretty decent history of the last 25 years in biology by reviewing Dr. Baltimore's contributions." Indeed, Baltimore has made significant discoveries in molecular biology, been actively involved in cancer and AIDS research, was the founding director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT, was president of Rockefeller University, is currently president of the California Institute of Technology and was at the center of the nation's most protracted and public examination of scientific fraud. Crotty, a doctoral fellow at UC-San Francisco, does an impressive job of outlining Baltimore's scientific role in many of his major discoveries and makes many of the basics of modern molecular biology accessible to the general public. What is missing, however, is any deep sense of Baltimore. We see many of his actions and his experiments but we never fully come to know the individual. His personal life is almost entirely undisclosed, as are the reasons why a significant portion of the scientific establishment turned on him amid the accusations of fraud, of which he was ultimately cleared. Nonetheless, readers wanting to gain insight into the politics of contemporary science and those with a particular interest in microbiology, cancer and AIDS research will not be disappointed. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2001-09-01:
Ahead of the Curve is a fascinating book about one of the giants of the modern scientific world. Beginning with Baltimore's introduction to scientific research at the Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor, Maine, and continuing to the present, author Crotty takes us on a well-written, informative tour of the public life of this amazing scientist. Baltimore won the Nobel Prize for the codiscovery of reverse transcriptase; he was a co-organizer of the important Asilomar conferences on recombinant DNA safety; he has contributed numerous scientific articles in many fields of biomedical science and has been the leader of research groups, institutes, universities ... the list goes on. Crotty does a wonderful job of bringing all of this information together in a highly readable work. The science is presented in such a way as to make it interesting for scientists and easily understandable to nonscientists. Reading this book is like a short course in the history of modern molecular biology. The work of David Baltimore and his contemporaries completely revolutionized the way that biological research is performed. Highly recommended to all interested in modern biology and medicine. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. D. Carroll Florida Institute of Technology
Appeared in Library Journal on 2001-04-15:
When hearing David Baltimore's name, many people will think only of the ten-year scientific fraud scandal involving him and Thereza Imanishi-Kari. Yet Baltimore has been an important figure in modern molecular biology and virology, from his early work on RNA replicase and animal virus replication and his role in the controversy surrounding early recombinant DNA experientments, to his continuing work at Caltech as its president and as head of the AIDS Vaccine Research Committee. Crotty, Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, has written an intriguing biography of the controversial Nobel Prize-winning scientist. She narrates Baltimore's life in the context of the exciting discoveries that have changed biology since the 1950s and the fascinating people who made those discoveries and influenced Baltimore's career. Crotty also takes the time to explain clearly the science and scientific methods used in molecular biology and virology research. She covers the fraud case well, but David Kevles's The Baltimore Case: A Trial of Poltics, Science, and Character (LJ 10/1/98) offers a more extended study of that event. For public and academic libraries. Margaret Henderson, Cold Spring Harbor Academics, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, March 2001
Library Journal, April 2001
Choice, September 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Shane Crotty's biography of David Baltimore details the life and work of one of the most brilliant, powerful, and controversial scientists of our time. Although only in his early sixties, Baltimore has made major discoveries in molecular biology, established the prestigious Whitehead Institute at MIT, been president of Rockefeller University, won the Nobel Prize, and been vilified by detractors in one of the most scandalous and protracted investigations of scientific fraud ever. He is now president of Caltech and a leader in the search for an AIDS vaccine. Crotty not only tells the compelling story of this larger-than-life figure, he also treats the reader to a lucid account of the amazing revolution that has occurred in biology during the past forty years. Basing his narrative on many personal interviews, Crotty recounts the milestones of Baltimore's career: completing his Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in eighteen months, participating in the anti--Vietnam War movement, winning a Nobel Prize at age thirty-seven for the codiscovery of reverse transcriptase, and co-organizing the recombinant DNA/genetic engineering moratorium. Along the way, readers learn what viruses are and what they do, what cancer is and how it happens, the complexities of the AIDS problem, how genetic engineering works, and why making a vaccine is a complicated process. And, as Crotty considers Baltimore's public life, he retells the famous scientific fraud saga and Baltimore's vindication after a decade of character assassination. Crotty possesses the alchemical skill of converting technical scientific history into entertaining prose as he conveys Baltimore's huge ambitions, intensity, scientific genius, attitude toward science and politics, and Baltimore's own view about what happened in the "Baltimore Affair." Ahead of the Curve shows why with his complex personality, keen involvement in public issues, and wide-ranging interests David Baltimore has not only shaped the face of American science as we know it today, but has also become a presence in our culture.
Long Description
Shane Crotty's biography of David Baltimore details the life and work of one of the most brilliant, powerful, and controversial scientists of our time. Although only in his early sixties, Baltimore has made major discoveries in molecular biology, established the prestigious Whitehead Institute at MIT, been president of Rockefeller University, won the Nobel Prize, and been vilified by detractors in one of the most scandalous and protracted investigations of scientific fraud ever. He is now president of Caltech and a leader in the search for an AIDS vaccine. Crotty not only tells the compelling story of this larger-than-life figure, he also treats the reader to a lucid account of the amazing revolution that has occurred in biology during the past forty years. Basing his narrative on many personal interviews, Crotty recounts the milestones of Baltimore's career: completing his Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in eighteen months, participating in the anti--Vietnam War movement, winning a Nobel Prize at age thirty-seven for the codiscovery of reverse transcriptase, and co-organizing the recombinant DNA/genetic engineering moratorium. Along the way, readers learn what viruses are and what they do, what cancer is and how it happens, the complexities of the AIDS problem, how genetic engineering works, and why making a vaccine is a complicated process. And, as Crotty considers Baltimore's public life, he retells the famous scientific fraud saga and Baltimore's vindication after a decade of character assassination. Crotty possesses the alchemical skill of converting technical scientific history into entertaining prose as he conveys Baltimore's huge ambitions, intensity, scientific genius, attitude toward science and politics, and Baltimore's own view about what happened in the "Baltimore Affair."Ahead of the Curveshows why with his complex personality, keen involvement in public issues, and wide-ranging interests David Baltimore has not only shaped the face of American science as we know it today, but has also become a presence in our culture.
Publisher Fact Sheet
A portrait of the life & science of one of the twentieth century's most important scientists.
Table of Contents
Prologue
Great Neck, Long Island
Swarthmore
Apprenticeships
Salk Institute
MIT
Recombinant DNA
Nobel Gold Poliovirus: An Interlude
Whitehead Institute
Rockefeller
Homecoming
Caltech
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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