Cover image for How to win the Nobel Prize : an unexpected life in science
Title:
How to win the Nobel Prize : an unexpected life in science
Author:
Bishop, J. Michael, 1936-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
xiii, 271 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
The Phone Call -- Accidental Scientist -- People and Pestilence -- Opening the Black Box of Cancer -- Paradoxical Strife.
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780674008809
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library RC268.42 .B57 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

In 1989 Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus were awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery that normal genes under certain conditions can cause cancer. In this book, Bishop tells us how he and Varmus made their momentous discovery. More than a lively account of the making of a brilliant scientist, How to Win the Nobel Prize is also a broader narrative combining two major and intertwined strands of medical history: the long and ongoing struggles to control infectious diseases and to find and attack the causes of cancer.

Alongside his own story, that of a youthful humanist evolving into an ambivalent medical student, an accidental microbiologist, and finally a world-class researcher, Bishop gives us a fast-paced and engrossing tale of the microbe hunters. It is a narrative enlivened by vivid anecdotes about our deadliest microbial enemies--the Black Death, cholera, syphilis, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox, HIV--and by biographical sketches of the scientists who led the fight against these scourges.

Bishop then provides an introduction for nonscientists to the molecular underpinnings of cancer and concludes with an analysis of many of today''s most important science-related controversies--ranging from stem cell research to the attack on evolution to scientific misconduct. How to Win the Nobel Prize affords us the pleasure of hearing about science from a brilliant practitioner who is a humanist at heart. Bishop''s perspective will be valued by anyone interested in biomedical research and in the past, present, and future of the battle against cancer.



Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations Preface

1. The Phone Call 2. Accidental Scientist 3. People and Pestilence 4. Opening the Black Box of Cancer 5. Paradoxical Strife

Notes Credits Index



Reviews of this book:
Despite his book''s encouraging title, Bishop--who won a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1989--cautions that "I have not written an instruction manual for pursuit of the prize." Instead, he has written an amiable reflection on the experience of being a Nobelist, intertwined with some history and anecdotes about the award, and balanced by a wide-ranging review of his own career as an "accidental scientist"...Along the way, Bishop reflects on the history of our knowledge of microbes, cancer, the politics of funding research and present-day disenchantment with science. His main purpose in writing this book, Bishop says, is to show that "scientists are supremely human"--which he does with grace and charm.
--Publishers Weekly

Reviews of this book:
How to Win the Nobel Prize is typical Bishop: modest, funny, insightful and offering an extremely clear and brief explanation of the basic scientific achievement that won the 1989 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for himself and longtime colleague, Harold Varmus, now president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
--David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle

Reviews of this book:
In these pages Bishop reveals himself as a good writer blessed with enviable clarity, someone sensible and levelheaded who likes people and is enamored of his science.
--John Tyler Bonner, New York Times Book Review

Reviews of this book:
This is a treasure...Above all, How to Win the Nobel Prize is a civilised book and a lavishly rewarding one.
--Roy Herbert, New Scientist

Reviews of this book:
At its heart this analysis of science and the scientific world is a jewel. How to Win the Nobel Prize is an inspirational book, full of careful analysis and judgement.
--John Oxford, Times Higher Education Supplement

Reviews of this book:
Bishop is a gifted communicator and teacher, and he sets about his task of educating scientists and the public by describing his career in science and science politics...In the end, Bishop''s book provides a road map for scientists and the public to build a robust scientific community that serves our society well.
--Andreas Trumpp and Daniel Kalman, Nature Cell Biology

J. Michael Bishop has written his book ''to show that scientists are supremely human.'' The book is also a lucid explanation of how science has been harnessed to fight the human afflictions of cancer and infectious disease. And the story ends with a wide-ranging overview of today''s challenges to the scientific enterprise. Overall, a must-read for all those interested in science and scientists--even those with absolutely no interest in winning a Nobel Prize!
--Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences

J. Michael Bishop is that rare scientist who is widely read in literature and poetry. Most importantly, he remembers what he reads and thinks deeply about it, as well as about all else in his rich life. The Nobel Prize he won and richly deserved, his political activism, his understanding of cancer and microbiology, his devotion to the practice of science--all these provide fodder for his writerly craft. Quite a wonderful book!
--David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate and President, California Institute of Technology


Summary

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Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Despite his book's encouraging title, Bishop-who won a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1989-cautions that "I have not written an instruction manual for pursuit of the prize." Instead, he has written an amiable reflection on the experience of being a Nobelist, intertwined with some history and anecdotes about the award, and balanced by a wide-ranging review of his own career as an "accidental scientist"-his transformation from small-town boy who, when a college professor suggested he apply to Harvard for medical school, said, "Where is that?" to successful and celebrated microbiologist studying viruses and eventually cancer cells (the work that won him the Nobel). Along the way, Bishop reflects on the history of our knowledge of microbes, cancer, the politics of funding research and present-day disenchantment with science. His main purpose in writing this book, Bishop says, is to show that "scientists are supremely human"-which he does with grace and charm. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Choice Review

Bishop was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1989 for his contributions toward the discovery that normal genes, under certain conditions, can cause cancer. This book is his memoir, and the first chapter recounts the momentous episode of winning the Nobel. Readers learn about the phone call, the trip to Stockholm, the speech, and the dinner with the royal family of Sweden. The second part is Bishop's chronological autobiography; he obtained a medical degree but was very attached to basic research. Although Bishop laments the passing of the era when there were more physician-scientists, he strongly praises the US academic tradition of faculty serving as teacher-scholars. Chapter 3 focuses on the history of disease throughout human history, while chapter 4 is concerned specifically with cancer and the efforts of medical science to fight this dreaded disease. The fifth and last chapter, "Paradoxical Strife," discusses a number of contemporary scientific controversies such as stem cell research and the teaching of evolution in schools. A great book and an enjoyable read. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers. J. Z. Kiss Miami University


Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
1. The Phone Callp. 1
2. Accidental Scientistp. 37
3. People and Pestilencep. 77
4. Opening the Black Box of Cancerp. 133
5. Paradoxical Strifep. 181
Notesp. 231
Creditsp. 257
Indexp. 259

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