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elizabeth blackburn

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Reviews of Elizabeth Blackburn

Catherine Brady's biography is a page-turner from the first chapter, weaving together the heroine's personality with her success as a scientist. We learn about Blackburn's family and her first tentative steps in the science world that eventually led to the discovery of telomerase in the mid-1980s, and about her determination, her curiosity, her way of dealing with situations and her opinions on the peer-reviewing process. — Maria A. Blasco

“This rich and rewarding book , . . .  based heavily on interviews with key players in the story and thoroughly referenced throughout, deserves to stand the test of time as a critical document in the history of modern science.”
—Ian Gibbons, Australian Book Review

In highlighting the factors that shaped Blackburn's career, we follow her incursions into policy-making and science ethics: first as president of the American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB) and as the chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), and then as part of the Bioethics Advisory Council to President George W. Bush — from which she was dismissed for her views on stem-cell policy. — Maria A. Blasco
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Click here to read On Ends and Means — Michael A. Goldman

“Incorporating significant material from interviews with molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn and several others close to her and her work, this biography examines both personal and professional aspects of Blackburn’s life.  Following a woman scientist whose career began in the 1970s, gender issues experienced by women are logically addressed, but they are only one aspect in the larger story of Blackburn’s experiences and contributions.  The narrative touches on many different concerns scientists must navigate during their careers, including publishing and establishing precedents, balancing career and family, and negotiating the politics of academia, laboratories, public policy, and public opinion. . . . the text includes a great deal of information about Blackburn’s scientific discoveries, providing a wealth of detail in an accessible manner.”
— Barbarly Korper McConnell, Library Journal

“This book tells the story not only of a person, Elizabeth Blackburn, but also of a scientific field, the molecular analysis of telomeres, chromosome ends, from the viewpoint of its founder and major contributor.  One of the most remarkable aspects of this story is how a somewhat esoteric subject, the analysis of chromosome ends, studied in a rather obscure model organism, a ciliated protozoan, can translate into discoveries that have a profound impact on human health and disease.  This book illustrates how the story of telomeres is both a triumph and a validation for basic scientific research.  In addition, it highlights the difficulties faced by women in the male-dominated world of science and reveals the impact of politics on scientific discovery.”
— Virginia Zakian, Harry C. Wiess Professor in the Life
Sciences, Professor of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

“In this superb biography of superstar molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, Catherine Brady tells exactly how Blackburn made her great discoveries.  She also reveals the traits of mind and educational experiences that make Blackburn such a great scientist: a life-long passion for nature, brilliance, creativity, a superb postdoctoral mentor, single-mindedness bordering on obsession, and—as a woman in a man’s world—the wisdom to hide her vast ambition beneath the guise of a sweet well-behaved young lady.  An inspiring account of a real-life heroine, and a lesson in how to conduct Nobel-quality research.”
— Nancy Hopkins, Amgen, Inc., Professor of Biology, MIT