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This year’s book reviews #2010

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Programming Hands

As always I read far more in 2010 than I blogged about, and most of the books I did blog about were treasures. I hope I inspired you to read at least one of them. And you have certainly noticed that I have added them all to the bookstore to make it easier for you to find out more about them.

I’ve had this title in my head for about a week now, the title is natur…

I’m reading Bruce Sterling‘s Islands in the Net – Amazon de…

As followers of mine will know I love xkcd, and he has some gems such as this…

I read Amsterdam: The Brief Life of a City by Geert Mak in English rather tha…

I’ve seen the film more than a dozen times, but I had yet to read Star …

Brian Jacques‘s book Outcast of Redwallfollows Veil the ferret who is r…

The Odessa File, by Frederick Forsyth, is another of the books I am keeping s…

Brian Jacques‘s book Martin the Warrior is another book from the Redwal…

I found The Moon’s a Balloon, by David Niven, in a box of old books. I …

Mossflower by Brian Jacques is probably my favourite of the Redwall series, t…

Timothy Leary once told us to “Turn on, tune in, drop out“, and a…

For some reason I had the book Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, by Br…

After having seen many films and read many books I expected that Hitler: The …

One of my first real American comics was Thor, I really liked it. Sadly it re…

I like Ontologies, Taxonomies and Folksonomies. I’m currently reading W…

I read Mario Puzo famed book The Godfather after having seen the movie a numb…

As I previously said I bought Anathem at the same time I bought Cryptonomicon…

I borrowed a number of books from an aunt of mine, who reviewed these books f…

I was standing in a secondhand book store with my father, and we wandered rou…

As an early Christmas gift my father gave me vouchers he didn’t want to…

The Snake is the first book I have read by John Godey, it was recommended to …

In the company I work for they are introducing the Agile FrameWork, in the fo…

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Just Finished Reading “Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA” #books

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For some reason I had the book Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, by Brenda Maddox, unread on my bookshelf, I’m not exactly sure how it got to be there. I had heard of Rosalind Franklin, and the opinion that she had been robbed of a Nobel Prize. I gladly took the chance to discover much more about her.

The book is a biography of a woman best known for her enormously important contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA and RNA. A woman struggling with institutionalized sexism in post war Great Britain, yet highly regarded in the UK and overseas for her work with coal, graphite and X-ray crystallographer. A woman with a brilliant mind, who was apparently not even annoyed after Crick and Watson so obviously borrowed her work, leaving her to play second fiddle to them with a discovery which was entirely hers.

The book is divided into three parts, the first covering her family’s roots from Breslau (Wrocław, Poland) and their establishment in the UK. This establishes a context for Rosalind’s life and breakthrough into the male dominated scientific world. It proceeds to tell Rosalind’s story from birth, school, into academia through-out the Second World War, up to the point that she has made a success of herself in the UK and France, in her coal and graphite research, and decides to re-establishes herself in London at King’s College.

Part two mostly covers her work on DNA and her troubled times at King’s. And although not a highly scientific look at the process in which DNA was discovered, most informative to a layperson.

The final part starts with her move to Birkbeck College, her work on RNA and plant viruses, and travels round Europe and the United States for lectures, research and to make contacts. Maddox does explain that Rosalind’s untimely death was almost certainly the reason she didn’t get the Nobel Prize, as the rules of the Nobel Prize forbid posthumous nominations.

A sad tale, and fantastic read.

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

June 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm

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