Book ID: CBB001213156

Outsider Scientists: Routes to Innovation in Biology (2013)


Harman, Oren (Editor)
Dietrich, Michael R. (Editor)

University of Chicago Press

Publication Date: 2013
Physical Details: 376 pp.; ill.
Language: English

Outsider Scientists describes the transformative role played by outsiders in the growth of the modern life sciences. Biology, which occupies a special place between the exact and human sciences, has historically attracted many thinkers whose primary training was in other fields: mathematics, physics, chemistry, linguistics, philosophy, history, anthropology, engineering, and even literature. These outsiders brought with them ideas and tools that were foreign to biology, but which, when applied to biological problems, helped to bring about dramatic, and often surprising, breakthroughs. This volume brings together eighteen thought-provoking biographical essays of some of the most remarkable outsiders of the modern era, each written by an authority in the respective field. From Noam Chomsky using linguistics to answer questions about brain architecture, to Erwin Schrödinger contemplating DNA as a physicist would, to Drew Endy tinkering with Biobricks to create new forms of synthetic life, the outsiders featured here make clear just how much there is to gain from disrespecting conventional boundaries. Innovation, it turns out, often relies on importing new ideas from other fields. Without its outsiders, modern biology would hardly be recognizable.


Description Includes 18 biographical essays on scientists who have come to biology from other disciplines.

Reviewed By

Essay Review Anya Plutynski (2015) Hail the Platypus!. Science and Education (pp. 1033-1038). unapi

Review Berry, Dominic (2015) Review of "Outsider Scientists: Routes to Innovation in Biology". British Journal for the History of Science (pp. 378-380). unapi

Review Abir-Am, Pnina G. (2015) Review of "Outsider Scientists: Routes to Innovation in Biology". Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences (pp. 492-494). unapi

Review Loison, Laurent (2014) Review of "Outsider Scientists: Routes to Innovation in Biology". Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (pp. 192-194). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Minelli, Alessandro
Christopher W. McCracken
Serra, Roberto
Derek Van Ittersum
Péter Tibor Nagy
Tau, Ramiro
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy
Journal of the History of Biology
Kent State University
University of Pittsburgh Press
University of Chicago Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Oxford University Press
Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge
Academic disciplines
Collective biographies
Crick, Francis
Azara, Félix de
Hodgkin, Alan Lloyd
Huxley, Andrew Fielding
Wilson, Edward Osborne
Watson, James Dewey
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, early
18th century
United States
Great Britain
International Biological Program

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