The Race to Decipher the Secrets of the Ribosome
This event includes a book signing
May 8, 2019
Harvard Science Center
Hall C, 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA
This event is free; no tickets are required.
The Harvard University Division of Science, Cabot Science Library, and Harvard Book Store welcome Nobel Prize-winning biologist and president of the Royal Society VENKI RAMAKRISHNAN for a discussion of his latest book, Gene Machine: The Race to Decipher the Secrets of the Ribosome.
About Gene Machine
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 into us. Gene Machine is a gripping account of the race to map the structure of the ribosome, a fundamental discovery that both advances our knowledge of all life and could lead to the development of better antibiotics against life-threatening diseases. It is also a human story of Ramakrishnan’s unlikely journey, from his first fumbling experiments in a biology lab to being the dark horse in a fierce competition with some of the world’s best scientists. In the end, Gene Machine is a frank insider’s account of the pursuit of high-stakes science.
Praise for Gene Machine
"Ramakrishnan's writing is so honest, lucid and engaging that I could not put this book down until I had read to the very end." —Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene
"If someone had told me that one of the most witty and enthralling books I'd read this year would be on the quest to understand ribosomes, I believe I would have laughed in his face, but I would have been quite wrong. Gene Machine is beyond superb." ―Bill Bryson
"The ribosome is the central processor that decodes the universal machine-code of life, and the history of its unravelling is on a par with that of DNA itself. You could think of Venki Ramakrishnan as a sort of 'nice Jim Watson.' His meticulously detailed and generous memoir has the same disarming frankness as The Double Helix. His personal honesty about the competitive ambition that drove him is tempered by his deeply thoughtful reflections on the potentially corrupting effect of big prizes. Gene Machine will be read and re-read as an important document in the history of science." ―Richard Dawkins
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The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, Cabot Science Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here.
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