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BOOK REVIEW

Forced to Choose

et al., Roald Hoffmann

RITA COLWELL

Marine microbiologist, prodigious author, science documentary film producer and director of the National Science Foundation

The library at the Colwell residence numbers in the thousands of volumes, and there is a little of everything. One book I have been rereading is C. P. Snow's The Search, originally published in 1934. It depicts the way science was done back then—it was obvious no woman was going to succeed in that crowd. A more recent book I've enjoyed is the Carl Djerassi novel Cantor's Dilemma, about a scientist who has to decide whether to reveal a possible error in an experiment for which he is about to receive a Nobel Prize. Of course, I'd have to throw Paul de Kruif's wonderful science detective story Microbe Hunters into the mix, and I have read Arrowsmith and all of Sinclair Lewis. And then there's The Double Helix for a sleazy inside view of how science is done. For a glimpse at the peripatetic life of the scientist, I like Arthur Koestler's The Call Girls. It sounds like something that should be in a brown paper cover, but it's really all about scientists going around and around to meetings.



 

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