Book ID: CBB777108676

Molecular Tinkering: The Edinburgh Scientists Who Changed the Face of Modern Biology (2018)


Martynoga, Ben (Author)

Troubador Publishing

Publication Date: 2018
Physical Details: 225 pp.
Language: English

During the 1960s Edinburgh became a hotbed for a forward-thinking group of biologists. This is the story of these innovators who saw that life’s big mysteries were best tackled by studying its molecular foundations. It introduces the eccentric thinkers, ingenious tinkerers and tenacious experimenters who broke down the cultural barriers between traditional scientific disciplines. They produced a series of transformative ideas and tools that wholly reoriented biology. Edinburgh scientists invented genetic engineering. They laid the foundations for DNA fingerprinting and the human genome project. They also cloned Dolly the sheep, purified the first gene and kick-started the now-influential fields of epigenetics and systems biology. Yet Edinburgh’s leading role in most of these world-changing stories have not been told before. Ben Martynoga intertwines science, biography and anecdote to describe the roots and lasting significance of key biological concepts. He describes the crucial micro-details, the blind alleys, botched experiments, and chance encounters to give a rare insight into the way science really progresses. Now, in the 21st century, biology is increasingly a ‘big science’ endeavor. A deeper understanding of biology could deliver not only new drugs and diagnostics, but also improved ways to feed, clothe and fuel us. But the world still awaits the long-promised fruits of biology’s molecular revolution. The successes of Edinburgh’s unsung molecular pioneers remind us why it is crucial to carve out space for small-scale, curiosity-led research.

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Authors & Contributors
Palladino, Paolo
Choudhuri, Supratim
Gee, Henry
Sgaramella, Vittorio
Macintosh, Kerry Lynn
Lee, Henry
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Public Understanding of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
W. W. Norton & Co.
Cambridge University Press
Greenwood Press
Basic Books
Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana)
Molecular biology
Genetic engineering
Human genetics
Cloning of organisms
Mendel, Gregor Johann
Watson, James Dewey
Crick, Francis
Berg, Paul
Britten, Roy J.
Davidson, Eric
United States
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
Human Genome Project
National Institute of Health (U.S.)
Stanford University

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