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Designs for Life
Molecular Biology after World War II

$57.99 (C)

  • Date Published: July 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521207744

$ 57.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • Molecular biology has come to dominate our perceptions of life, health and disease. In the decades following World War II, the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge was a world-renowned center of this emerging discipline. Crick and Watson, among others, did the work that made them famous in this laboratory. Soraya de Chadarevian's important new study is the first to examine the creation and expansion of molecular biology and its place on the postwar governmental agenda through the prism of this remarkable institution.

    • Deals with the scientific mobilisation during World War II and its legacies for the postwar scientific culture
    • Offers interpretations of well known historical events such as Crick & Watson's elucidation of the structure of DNA and the commercialisation of molecular biology
    • Contributes to our understanding of the molecular view of life
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "I enjoyed this book tremendously, and would highly recommend Design for Life to any reader with an interest in the history of the sciences." Laurette Geldenhuys, Dalhousie University, in The Canadian Bulletin of Medical History

    "The book is thoroughly and professionally researched and a significant contribution to the history of molecular biology." Isis

    "de Chadarevian's historical account is recommended to all who are interested in the development of molecular biology." Nature

    "De Chadarevian offers a timely book, pertinent because of the recent 50th anniversary of the publication of Watson and Crick's description of DNA..... For all 'students' of molecular biology. Recommended." Choice

    "Designs for Life makes a contribution both to the history of molecular biology and to the history of science and technology in postwar Britain" Bulletin of Science Technology and Society

    "This is an excellent book....a well-written, extensively researched book that sheds new light on the evolution of molecular biology....a very significant contribution to the literature on the history of molecular biology." Journal of the History of Medicine

    "With its many perspectives on the rise of molecular biology in Britain, Designs for Life will be appreciated by biologists, historians, and those involved with science policy. The book will surely interest anyone intrigued by the way science seems to follow its own internal logic while participating centrally in the society in which it is embedded." Science

    "The juxtaposition of cultural analysis and institutional history is a refreshing change of perspective for the history of molecular biology." Rena Selya, Harvard University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521207744
    • length: 444 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    Part I. Postwar Reconstruction and Biophysics:
    1. World War II and the mobilisation of British scientists
    2. Reconstructing life
    3. Proteins, crystals and computers
    4. Televisual language
    Part II. Building Molecular Biology:
    5. Locating the double helix
    6. Disciplinary moves
    7. The origins of molecular biology revisited
    Part III. Bench Work and Politics:
    8. Laboratory cultures
    9. On the governmental agenda
    10. The end of an era
    Conclusions.

  • Author

    Soraya de Chadarevian, University of Cambridge

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