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A Physiologist Who Never Said Die

CONTROLLING LIFE Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology. Philip J. Pauly. Oxford University Press, New York, 1987. 252 pp. $24.95. Few scientists today would consider modeling their professional development on the life of Jacques Loeb (1859-1924). Despite considerable accomplishments, Loeb felt embattled for most of his career. As a German Jew, he was alienated from American academic and social circles, and on several occasions his religion served to limit and even deny him prof

Deborah Fitzgerald

CONTROLLING LIFE

Jacques Loeb and the Engineering
Ideal in Biology. Philip J. Pauly. Oxford
University Press, New York, 1987. 252
pp. $24.95.

Few scientists today would consider modeling their professional development on the life of Jacques Loeb (1859-1924). Despite considerable accomplishments, Loeb felt embattled for most of his career. As a German Jew, he was alienated from American academic and social circles, and on several occasions his religion served to limit and even deny him professional opportunities. His ideas were both admired and attacked, and he was repeatedly called upon to justify his more radical research. Loeb’s success with artificial parthenogenesis gained him world fame, but also created suspicions that he was a nut or a fraud.

Loeb trained as a physiologist at a time when physiology was linked with medicine intellectually as well as institutionally. He believed that the preoccupation with health and disease was too confining and boring,...

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