Genes, Girls and Gamow

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And amid the feverish search for the role of the then still mysterious RNA molecule, Watson's thoughts are seldom far from the supreme object of his desire, an enthralling Swarthmore coed who also happens to be the daughter of Harvard's most eminent biologist. Part scientific apprenticeship, part sentimental education, Genes, Girls, and Gamow is a penetrating revelation of how great science is accomplished. It is also a charmingly candid account of one young man's full range of ambitions. Publication Date:. James D Watson. I guess the second half was attained, as I learned that some famous scientists are socially repugnant.

But geeze, I wish I didn't read a book just to teach me that. I'm sorry, I've never given a book a 1 before, I'm just hoping to ward off anyone who might also be tricked by the back cover. The book is completely and utterly painful. It's so, so bad.

Edward Teller - Driving across Denmark on a motorbike with George Gamow (55/147)

Sep 17, Greg rated it did not like it. If you don't have anything worthwhile to say, please don't say anything at all. I'm sure The Double Helix was a very important book but I no longer have any desire to read it. Unless I missed something, Watson seems to have chosen the 3 least exciting years of his entire life to chronicle. It reads like a teenage boy writing about girls censored by that same teenager's year-old self.

As for the science, I didn't learn anything. Maybe it was interesting to someone who already understood some o If you don't have anything worthwhile to say, please don't say anything at all.

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Maybe it was interesting to someone who already understood some of this stuff but I doubt it. Sorry Duv, this one wasn't for me. View 1 comment. It may be impossible from now on to review any book by James Watson without at least mentioning the looming shadow of the recent Jan. My intent is not to apologize or make excuses for his comments on race, only to review this book written by someone born 90 years ago who recognized his flaws, admitted to them openly, and is apparently power It may be impossible from now on to review any book by James Watson without at least mentioning the looming shadow of the recent Jan.

My intent is not to apologize or make excuses for his comments on race, only to review this book written by someone born 90 years ago who recognized his flaws, admitted to them openly, and is apparently powerless to change them even when noting they are irrational.

The controversy does not alter his importance in the world of science, nor should it. It does serve, however, as a reminder that we are all human, we all have flaws, we all have biased notions and beliefs that may leave us morally stranded as society and social conventions march ever onward. This book is very clear about it's subject matter. The title, Genes, Girls, and Gamow tells you exactly what it will be about: Watson and co. Beginning roughly following the mad scramble to uncover the structure of DNA in , this book shares with the readers the ups and downs in science and in social life that Watson experienced at a time when the casual reader such as myself might have thought he would have had a life of champagne and roses.

What I did not expect was the level of frustration, the repeated failures to make much headway with RNA for a decade, the constant bouncing around from institution to institution, and the rather pathetic loneliness Watson actually experienced. This book contains far less bravado and far more humility and human emotion than I would have expected having read the Double Helix and Avoid Boring People. This adds, for me, a bit of interest to the story, and true to being "Honest Jim", I was frequently surprised at some of the things he shared, notably his sad puppy dog situation, whimpering after Christa Mayr.

If I were to be honest, and to "Honest Jim" I feel it only fair, the book is far from his best. I enjoy his work most when he is explaining his science, and here there is far too little science. One feels as if science is just a minor character, only appearing about pages in. What there is, is a lot of socializing, a lot of names, and a lot of things said that seem to be more like insider baseball, comprehensible only to those who were there and knew the people and the backstories.

I felt bogged down by the enormous cast of characters and frequently bored by the stories that seemed to go nowhere.

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I enjoyed the inclusion of the George Gamow Memorabilia, as I always enjoy seeing primary historical documents, but found it frustrating that they appear at the end of the book rather than in the relevant text, and wow, does Gamow have some, shall we say, interesting handwriting! Overall, is this a great book? Is it important if you are interested in molecular biology and the history of the field? Yes, to a point. Absolutely, but understand that it only fleshes out some little bit of his life and researches post-DNA, and should only be read as a companion to other books by and about Watson and his co-discoverers and co-founders of this field.

Are all true geniuses such self-absorbed, self-referential assholes?

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Genes, Girls, and Gamow

Even though I was entertained by his really well-written memoir, I did shake my head over his disdain for "ordinary" humans, and for women who did not measure up to his standard of beauty. Also, he seemed to feel that every woman he encountered secretly yearned for him.

Nov 12, Nicole rated it it was ok. I would much rather give this book 2. It starts off well, but drags a lot. And becomes way too many anecdotes that aren't really interesting. Also, it is pretty gossipy, which amusing at first, gets old. I wish it had 50 pages shorter. Oct 14, Liedzeit rated it it was ok Shelves: auto-biography.

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Meine Bewertung mag etwas ungerecht sein, aber mir waren das zu viele Gene und Girls und zu wenig Gamow. Ebenso wie der Nobelpreis. Jan 18, Barbara rated it it was ok Shelves: biology. Nice writing style. Very informative. Very detailed.

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Could not finish. May 19, Aileen rated it it was ok. Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene Endorsement for A Passion for DNA by the same author: Jim Watson has elevated his unique combination of justified arrogance, scurrilous candour and disconcertingly mature wisdom into an art form. As one of the half dozen twentieth century scientists whose name will live into the fourth millennium he gets away with it, and the result is both edifying and hugely entertaining.


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Watson was appointed to the faculty at Harvard University in Cambridge England : April ; 2. Cambridge England : April-May ; 3. Cold Spring Harbor: June ; 4. Cambridge England : July-August ; 5. Pasadena: February ; 9. Pasadena: May ; Woods Hole: June ; Woods Hole: July ;