Scientific Memoir: Variations on a Theme

MEMOIR OF A THINKING RADISH An Autobiography. Peter Medawar. Oxford University Press, New York, 1986. 221 pp., illus. $17.95; £12.50. THE SMALL WORLD OF FRED HOYLE An Autobiography. Fred Hoyle. Michael Joseph, London, 1986. 191 pp. £10.95. A LIFE IN SCIENCE Nevill Mott. Taylor & Francis, Philadelphia, 1986. 206 pp., illus. $27; £15. "The lives of scientists," writes Sir Peter Medawar, "almost always make dull reading." He is not just being coy. Science, for all its focus on the n

Laurence Marschall
Nov 16, 1986

MEMOIR OF A THINKING RADISH
An Autobiography. Peter Medawar.
Oxford University Press, New York,
1986. 221 pp., illus. $17.95; £12.50.

THE SMALL WORLD OF FRED HOYLE
An Autobiography. Fred Hoyle. Michael
Joseph, London, 1986. 191 pp. £10.95.

A LIFE IN SCIENCE
Nevill Mott. Taylor & Francis, Philadelphia, 1986. 206 pp., illus. $27; £15.

"The lives of scientists," writes Sir Peter Medawar, "almost always make dull reading." He is not just being coy. Science, for all its focus on the natural world, flourishes in the hothouses of academia, and the lives of many creative scientists, among them Medawar, Hoyle and Mott, read like chronicles of middle
class respectability.

It's not surprising, after all, for science is intellectual, not physical, adventure. And scientists themselves, cherishing an arguably unattainable ideal of objectivity, tend to downplay the personal aspects of their own discoveries.

This is the ideal of course; the real world is different....

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