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What Mad Pursuit by Francis Crick
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Sep 24, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: biology
Read in April, 2009

An Extraordinary Journey

Dr. Crick shares with the readers his personal journey of scientific discovery. Starting with how he chose molecular biology as his pursuit, the "gossip test -- what you are really interested in is what you gossip about", leading up to the discovery of structure of DNA and the genetic code, and eventually the study of neurobiology when he passed 60, "at my time of life I had a right to do things for my own amusement". Dr. Crick's intelligence and great sense of humor shines throughout.

It's a rare, insightful book that is both entertaining and intellectually stimulating, with many amusing anecdotes and characters. For example, at one point he had to extract enzymes from his own tears and even thought of testing his two-year-old daughter's tears, but "was sternly forbidden to attempt it" by his wife. Mad pursuit indeed.

The Eureka Moment

"It is not easy to convey, unless one has experienced it, the dramatic feeling of sudden enlightenment that floods the mind when the right idea finally clicks into place. One immediately sees how many previously puzzling facts are neatly explained by the new hypothesis. One could kick oneself for not having the idea earlier, it now seems so obvious. Yet before, everything was in a fog."

(Read full review at booksontrial.wordpress.com)
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Quotes Nemo Liked

Francis Crick
“It is not easy to convey, unless one has experienced it, the dramatic feeling of sudden enlightenment that floods the mind when the right idea finally clicks into place. One immediately sees how many previously puzzling facts are neatly explained by the new hypothesis. One could kick oneself for not having the idea earlier, it now seems so obvious. Yet before, everything was in a fog.”
Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit


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