Life’s Greatest Secret: The Race to Crack the Genetic Code

It is fair to say I have spent most of my bachelor getting excited about the discoveries made about life. Most often the first phrase was ‘Brilliant!’ and the second one was ‘Why I haven’t come up with something like this before? With my high school knowledge I should have thought of this even if I couldn’t test it!’. After getting¬† comprehensive history of the field with Cobb’s Life’s Greatest Secret, I know why.

The way we structure our textbooks leaves no room to learn from failures. All the textbooks I have read for courses (maybe most of them not all) contain a never ending information that ends up being boring. The path , which led to that information, is never mentioned. If mentioned by chance, it doesn’t give the full picture. I remember being mesmerized about the Hersey-Chase experiment and how they used a house blender to these experiments. Couldn’t have been more wrong! Not only this experiment wasn’t a conclusive one, at that era about the hereditary material, the choice of equipment also wasn’t a house blender. Thank you Cobb for waking me up! I must say, I loved the note about Chase’s complaints about low pay.

There is hope in restoring my excitement about science, I just have read more on the path that led to what we know today. Then I will find my own path to walk.

If you don’t have molecular biology knowledge, it is difficult to follow the timeline of events. You might assume that the book is in chronological order. It’s not entirely true. It is more focused on the main hypotheses of the era, so expect some minor jumps. That’s actually why I have given it a 4 and a 3. I loved the focus on the hypotheses (4), but some things felt repetitive and difficult to keep track of (3).

Next on the reading list is The Gene ūüėČ


Genre: History, Science

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

If Jules Verne were to write about a war time, he would use a similar perspective: The importance of radio. But I don’t think the magic presented by¬†Doerr is as striking as Verne’s. Maybe because I was a child when I read Verne, thus it’s me who lost the magic not the author.

The war is presented not violently. Yes, it’s a war and it’s brutal for anybody, whether you are the winner or the loser. And bad things, horrible things happen in this book as well. But the descriptions doesn’t go into details of this brutality.

We had a discussion of this book, in this month’s book club. One of the points was about the things happened in Berlin when the Russian soldiers came to town. It doesn’t matter which side you are from in war, it is us humans who loses in the end. We learn absolutely nothing from it that we have been and will be at war since we existed till we cease to exist.