Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature” as Want to Read:
Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The eminent biochemist reflects on his life and work in Vienna and in America, shedding light on his DNA research and the work and opinions that led to his reputation as a maverick.
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published July 1st 1978 by Rockefeller University Press (first published June 1978)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Heraclitean Fire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Heraclitean Fire

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  51 ratings  ·  9 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature
Audrey
Nov 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I'd tap that.

Did biochemist Erwin Chargaff, of the famous "Chargarff's rules" originally write his memoir in German? If this is the case, I will cut him some slack for writing in the kind of way I have very little patience for - overwrought, melodramatic, and earnest. Imagine reading Frasier Crane or Ignatius Reilly's memoirs and you have Heraclitean Fire.

Chargaff actually complains at one point "purple" language is frowned upon and how English is not a language for celebrating language. Well,
...more
Alison
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
This poor, bitter man had such a bizarre view of science, esp the biological sciences. Theres almost zero mention of or appreciation for the absolutely massive revolution in medicine, which to most ppl is a cornerstone of biological science. Im sure its a product of the horrible ways he saw science used during WW2, and his points there are well-taken. But unfortunately other than that and a few other minor points, this book didnt have much perspective to give me about working in science today. ...more
Erik Rostad
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Written by Erwin Chargaff (1905 - 2002), a Columbia University biochemist, it is part autobiography, part critique of modern science (modern from 1978 when it was written). Chargaff is humurous, deep, and challenging. His critique of science is even more prescient today. His wariness of the direction science took began with the dropping of the A-bombs on Japan. I had never heard of Erwin Chargaff or this book, but it was excellent and highly recommended.
Drew
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Biologist. Brilliant man. Perhaps should have shared the Nobel with Crick and Watson. His findings paved the way for the double helix. Somewhat of a curmudgeon. At one point read in 15 different languages. The book is a memoir. He is pessimistic about the future of humankind and the world. Very interesting read with the most difficult vocabulary I have encountered.
Peter Reczek
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very good autobiography of one of the founders of modern molecular biology. In the old style, this is an introspective journey through a life looking both forward and backward. Liberally interspersed with references to art, music, and literature in the cultured European style, it is a welcome change from the current style of "reporting" a life. Lots to ponder!! FYI...out of print
Jacopo Arrigoni
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Most of the time, this book is just a pretentious critique of half a century of American academia; while it is far from a perfect entity, the contents of this autobiography are bitter and almost never justified. With that being said, the conclusion is touching, and reveals a love for biology and science in general that surpasses the failure to understand its evolution.
Reinhold
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Erwin Chargaff, der Entdecker der Basenkomplementarität in der DNS, gilt als einer der Urväter der Gentechnik. In seiner Autobiographie aus dem Jahr 1979 rechnet er mit seiner Vergangenheit und der (damaligen) Zukunft der Gentechnik ab. Chargaff erging es somit ähnlich wie Albert Einstein - vergleichbar Goethes Zauberlehrling wurde er die Geister die er rief nicht mehr los. Was er in Bewegung gesetzt hatte entwickelte sich in eine Richtung die er nur mehr ablehnen konnte.

Als einer der
...more
Jamie Bradway
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Skipped around for an 'only the good parts' version of the book. There's so much good stuff in here - but even more padding.
Julie Schum
Jul 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Rather a ponderous read in my opinion.
Robin
rated it really liked it
May 24, 2013
Regina
rated it really liked it
Mar 02, 2017
Akita
rated it did not like it
Feb 12, 2020
Abc Hantschke
rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2010
Kartik
rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2007
Duff
rated it liked it
Nov 10, 2016
James
rated it it was amazing
Oct 15, 2017
154042
rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2013
Ludmirska
rated it it was amazing
Jul 03, 2016
Kristen
rated it really liked it
Apr 13, 2017
Sam Beal
rated it liked it
Dec 18, 2016
Marshall Bunch
rated it liked it
Jun 04, 2019
Zachary Adams
rated it really liked it
Feb 14, 2019
Dallas
rated it really liked it
Jun 13, 2016
Alex Covic
rated it really liked it
Jul 11, 2010
Javier Calleja Arregui
rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2016
Shaun Halsall
rated it liked it
Aug 24, 2019
Łukasz
rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2019
V
rated it liked it
Aug 17, 2010
Don MacLeod
rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2020
Sheikh Tajamul
rated it really liked it
Jun 18, 2016
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bauhaus Weaving Theory: From Feminine Craft to Mode of Design
  • Thoreau and the Language of Trees
  • Jamais peço desculpas por me derramar
  • Tudo nela brilha e queima
  • Last Chance to See
  • The Time of the Doves
  • Effi Briest
  • Jauche und Levkojen (Poenichen-Trilogie #1)
  • The Wind from the Mountains
  • A daughter of Kairouan
  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter
  • Treasure Island
  • The Magdalene Scrolls
  • The Grand Babylon Hotel
  • The Time of Our Singing
  • The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius 3
  • The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius 4: Gorilla Warfare
  • The Elephant Chaser's Daughter
See similar books…
4 followers
Erwin Chargaff was an Austrian biochemist who was a professor of biochemistry at Columbia University medical school.
Chargaff proposed main rules in his lifetime related to DNA studies best known as Chargaff's Rules.

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our list,...
30 likes · 20 comments
“Life is the continuing intervention of the inexplicable.” 4 likes
“If at one time or another I have brushed a few colleagues the wrong way, I must apologize: I had not realized that they were covered with fur.” 2 likes
More quotes…