Subscribe
Subscribe
MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
Logo IMG

BOOK REVIEW

Forced to Choose

et al., Roald Hoffmann

CARL DJERASSI

Inventor of the birth-control pill, dramaturge and science-in-fiction author of Cantor's Dilemma, The Bourbaki Gambit and others

As a teenager, I was influenced by a book that has also influenced several other budding scientists such as Joshua Lederberg, a very romanticized or even glamorized account of medical research: Paul de Kruif's Microbe Hunters. And as a budding graduate student, just out of college at age 19, Louis Fieser's Chemistry of Natural Products Related to Phenanthrene (a few years later reissued under the title Steroids and co-published with his wife, Mary Fieser) made an indelible impression on me. That is what caused me to choose a Ph.D. supervisor at the University of Wisconsin who was active in steroid chemistry, and I have subsequently pursued research in that field for 40 or more years!

In the area of fiction, again as a teenager who had just arrived as a refugee in the USA, I adored the early novels of Arthur Koestler (starting with The Gladiators, which few people know and which came out before his famous Darkness at Noon) and especially of Aldous Huxley (Chrome Yellow, Eyeless in Gaza, Antic Hay, Time Must Have a Stop and Brave New World).

And in my autobiography (The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas' Horse), you will find no less than five entries to Huxley in the index. One records a personal experience with mescaline based on his Doors of Perception. Another demonstrates my pleasure at having discovered that the terminology "the pill" was really coined by Huxley in Brave New World Revisited—something that nobody else seems to have realized.








comments powered by Disqus
 

Connect With Us:

Facebook Icon Sm Twitter Icon Google+ Icon Pinterest Icon RSS Feed

Sigma Xi/Amazon Smile (SciNight)


Subscribe to Free eNewsletters!

  • American Scientist Update

  • An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns, and more. Every other issue contains links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.

  • Scientists' Nightstand: Holiday Special!

  • News of book reviews published in American Scientist and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.

    To sign up for automatic emails of the American Scientist Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an online profile, then sign up in the My AmSci area.


RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.


Read Past Issues on JSTOR

JSTOR, the online academic archive, contains complete back issues of American Scientist from 1913 (known then as the Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.

The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.

View the full collection here.


EMAIL TO A FRIEND :

Subscribe to American Scientist