M. F. Perutz (1914–2002) was an Austrian molecular biologist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962. He is the author of Is Science Necessary?, Protein Structure, and I Wish I’d Made You Angry Earlier.

IN THE REVIEW

Growing Up Among the Elements

Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood

by Oliver Sacks
London’s Science Museum in South Kensington was closed during the Second World War. When it reopened in 1945, the twelve-year-old Oliver Sacks discovered there the periodic table of the chemical elements. They were written in large letters on a wall, with samples of each element or one of its compounds …

What If?

Five Days in London, May 1940

by John Lukacs
At dawn on May 10, 1940, Hitler’s armies broke into Belgium and Holland. That same afternoon Winston Churchill took office as prime minister of Great Britain. At 7:30 AM on May 15, Paul Reynaud, the French premier, woke Churchill with the news that German tanks were pouring into France across …

The Threat of Biological Weapons

Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World
Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It

by Ken Alibek, with Stephen Handelman
“Science without conscience is the death of the soul.” —Peter Abelard (1079-1144) Men and women of good will talk of a common humanity, a common empathy with people everywhere who have hopes and sorrows similar to their own. Ken Alibek’s book is about a common inhumanity, a gigantic effort …

The Top Designer

Cats' Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People

by Steven Vogel, illustrated by Kathryn K. Davis and Steven Vogel

Of Flies, Mice, and Men

by François Jacob, translated by Giselle Weiss
We owe chemists and physicists our knowledge of the composition of living matter, of the conversion of the sun’s heat into chemical energy, and of the myriad molecular interactions that sustain life. Steven Vogel’s Cats’ Paws and Catapults is the first book that has made me look at biology through …

A Passion for Science

Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics

by Ruth Lewin Sime
Lise Meitner’s career as a scientist spanned most of the heroic age of atomic physics, from the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 to the discovery of atomic fission in 1938. Born in Vienna in 1878, she spent her working life in Berlin, where Einstein called her “our Marie Curie.” Her …