Gene Machine: The Race to Decipher the Secrets of the Ribosome
Everyone has heard of DNA. But by itself, DNA is just an inert blueprint for life. It is the ribosome--an enormous molecular machine made up of a million atoms--that makes DNA come to life, turning our genetic code into proteins and therefore/> ...more
Within the story is the real nature of how science progresses with its messiness, competition and sometimes luck ('chance favors the prepared mind').
A wonderful quote from Blake 'the fool in his persistent folly becomes wise'. That quote is applicable for all of us who are thrown into this world without certainty and wh ...more
But, not because of that. As Ramakrishnan tells so well in this book, once an idea is discoverable, whether the structure of DNA or electricity or radio or the internal combustion engine or even evolution by natural selection, there will be multiple people who will have the potential to discover it. If Watson ...more
"But that wasn’t all. Over the course of a single night, Brian had located one protein after another, until he had located all seven previously known protein structures in the 30S maps. Actually, although he knew where/>"But ...more
My Rating - 4.5/5
The book is all about advance study of function of Ribosome and its Ribo Nucleic Acid (RNA). RNA holds the mystery of origination of life in the Earth. The author describes his journey from India to ultimately obtaining Nobel prize. The path was not easy. There ...more
And the race to decipher the ribosome is quite interesting. It reminds me of the race to decode the human genome.
I just wish the author had gone into more detail on the whole ribosome. Instead, we get his perspective on the piece he worked on, and even then it's only doled out as relevant to the narrative of competitiveness, which I c ...more
But then you kind of connect to the issues the author has. As a science student, I for one, never really figured out which field of chemistry to indulge myself into going back and forth on quantum and organic.
The author inspires by writing the account of not falling into “oscar” traps of the science world and taking risks, experimenti ...more
Usually, building prequel to such science stories is very challenging. Venki manages it brilliantly- he both tells his personal experience around the story and describes in layman’s-term the concrete science behind. One good thing about such story telling is, the reader can nail the story to a parallel experience from his/her life in general.
Almost everyone with some formal education behind them knows or have at least heard about DNA, the genetic library of our cell but how about Ribosomes? The very machinery that translates the genetic material to protein, not as glamorous as DNA right? In Gene Machine by Dr. Venki Ramakrishnan takes us on a journey that ended with discovery of structure of the ribosome to be ...more
He’s very candid about what he sees as the key steps taken to determine the overall structure of the ribosome, the four stroke piston engine of life.
It was a very enjoyable read, but I found myself having to stop and take a lot more time to allow the physics of X-Ray Crystallography to sink in (but this may be down to my lack of a physics backgr ...more
As a lay person some of the terminology and science may be a bit above my pay grade but it is laid out clearly and, while not knowing, I do understand. I enjoyed the ti ...more
In the case of this book, I normally really enjoy autobiographies and books about science, and this is both, but...I dunno, guys, it was not terribly interesting, and I feel like more time is spent here complaining about things like the Nobel Prize than I generally prefer. I mean, I get what he's saying, buuuuut...it kind of comes across funny here is all.
I might have had an easier time of it if I ...more
My only real complaint was, even though he seemed to try and tone it down, the personal anomosity between Venki and Ada still seem to be a focus of far too many comments. I think most people k ...more
I loved this book. Author Venki Ramakrishnan tells a great story about his work on the ribosome, the part of the cell that reads the genetic code and translates it into proteins. He describes in detail the techniques used and the results. This is perhaps one weakness of the book, as Ramakrishnan used the very complex technique x-ray crystallography. I didn’t understand much of the finer details but I did understand enough to get the broa ...more
Written by 2009 co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Venkatraman “Venki” Ramakrishnan, an American and British structural biologist who grew up in India, Gene Machine: The race to decipher the secrets of the ribosome (Basic Books; 2018) is an engaging account of one man’s many scientific contributions to solve the structure of the ribosome, a small structure ...more
The book starts out with his experiences as a student of physics ...more
The ‘Gene Machine’ is a fascinating account of Venki Ramakrishnan’s path to uncovering the structure of the ribosome, which resulted in his receiving the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The cast of characters and places in this narrative are truly captivating and provide a cross-sectional view of the scientific life.
The book provides insight into how successful scientific careers are forged. The starting point is Dr Ramakrishnan’s journey from India to a Ph.D program in physics at Ohio Universi...more