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The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice and Other Classic Essays on Science

Sir Peter Medawar was not only a Nobel prize-winning immunologist but also a wonderful writer about science and scientists. Described by the Washington Post as a 'genuinely brilliant popularizer' of science, his essays are remarkable for their clarity and wit. This entertaining selection presents the very best of his writing with a new Foreword by Stephen Jay Gould, one of his greatest admirers. The wide range of subjects include Howard Florey and penicillin, J. B. S. Haldane, whom he describes as a 'with-knobs-on variant of us all', and, in the title essay, scientific fraud involving laboratory mice. There is Medawar's defence of James Watson against the storm of criticism that greeted the publication of The Double Helix. A merciless debunker of myths, he reveals the nonsense to be discovered in psychoanalytic interpretations of Darwin's illness and launches devastating attacks on Arthur Koestler, IQ psychologists, and, most notably, Teilhard de Chardin. He raises questions about the nature of scientific endeavour - he famously defined science as the art of the soluble - and a common theme is his desire to communicate the importance of science to the widest possible audience.
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About the Author

Sir Peter Medawar, OM, 1915-87, was born in Rio de Janeiro and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. He began research in H. W. Florey's department at Oxford in the early days of the development of penicillin. After professorships at Birmingham and University College London, he became Director of the National Institute for Medical Research. His scientific reputation is based mainly on his research in immunology, which helped make transplant surgery possible. In 1960 he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on tissue transplantation. Elected to the Royal Society at the age of 34, he was also a Fellow of the British Academy - a rare honour for a scientist. Sir Peter wrote a number of books for a general audience, including Pluto's Republic (1982), The Limits of Science (1985), and Aristotle to Zoos (1983, with Jean Medawar). A further collection of his essays, The Threat and the Glory (1990), was published after his death.


Medawar on anything means genuine profundity, elegance and above all, joy. * Roy Herbert, New Scientist *

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