I Wish I'd Made You Angry Earlier

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9780198590279: I Wish I'd Made You Angry Earlier

Science does not offer a quiet life. Imagination, creativity, ambition, and conflict are as vital and abundant in science as in artistic endeavours. In this delightful collection of essays, Nobel Laureate Max Perutz writes about the pursuit of scientific knowledge, which he sees as an enterprise providing not just a few facts but cause for reflection and revelation. This book contains detective stories, tales of conflict and battle, a woman's love affair with crystals, a man's gruesome fascination with poison gas, perils both phantom and real, and entertaining glimpses of Perutz's own long and exceptional life. Perutz views science as a passionate enterprise and the pursuit of knowledge as a sortie into the unknown: these essays explore a remarkable range of topics, both scientific and personal, with the lucidity and precision that he brought to his own pioneering work in protein crystallography.

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Review:

Max Perutz is an extraordinary scientist. After training in chemistry at the University of Vienna during the 1930s, he went to Cambridge and became fascinated by biochemistry just as that discipline was becoming ripe for conquest by scientific heroes. He knew and worked with many of them: William Bragg, J.D. Bernal, Crick and Watson--and became one himself, through his discovery of the structure of hemoglobin, which led to his Nobel Prize in 1962.

Such are the credentials Perutz brings to this wonderful collection of essays, credentials that he uses always to illuminate, never to dominate. In prose that rolls by like countryside seen from the window of a train, Perutz takes the reader traveling through his own life and that of many other leading scientists, giving fresh insights into the workings of first-rate minds.

We meet such characters as Leo Szilard, the inventor of the atomic bomb, who devoted his life to preventing its use, and the German chemist Fritz Haber, the very mirror image of Szilard, who became a real-life Faust. We also learn much about Perutz's own approach to science--including his involvement in a project to harness icebergs in the fight against the Nazis.

With its combination of subject choice and light, often humorous, style, this is one of the best collections of scientific essays to emerge for years. --Robert Matthews, Amazon.co.uk

About the Author:

Max Perutz, F.R.S., was Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology from its foundation in 1962 until 1979, and remained a member of the scientific staff there until his death in February 2002. In addition to many other awards and honours, he received, with John Kendrew, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1972 for the first solution of the structure of proteins.

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