978-0-300-09441-1 / 0300094418

Science as Autobiography: The Troubled Life of Niels Jern

by Thomas Soderqvist

Publisher:Yale University Press



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About the book:

This biography probes the unusual mind, the dramatic life, and the outstanding scientific work of Danish-born immunologist Niels Jerne (1911-1994). Jerne's Nobel Prize-winning achievements in the field of immunology place him in the pantheon of great 20th-century biomedical theorists, yet his life is perhaps even more interesting than his science. The volume tells Jerne's story, weaving together a narrative of his life experiences, emotional life and extraordinarily creative scientific work. A legendary figure who preferred an afternoon of conversation in a Paris wine bar to work in the laboratory, Jerne was renowned for his unparalleled powers of concentration and analytical keenness as well as his dissonant personal life. Thomas Soderqvist explores Jerne the man and scientist, making the argument that his life experience and view of himself became a metaphorical resource for the construction of his theories. He also probes the moral issues that surrounded Jerne's choice to sacrifice his family in favour of scientific goals and the pursuit of excellence.

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