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Scientific Temperaments: Three Lives in Contemporary Science

1982

 

An engaging look at the human side of science and scientists. The scientific personality laid bare in narratives of events in the lives of scientists in three very different fields. How do differences of style, ambition and even idiosyncrasies make up that elusive quality called the scientific temperament? The book follows three major figures in the fields of particle physics, molecular biology and artificial intelligence--together representing the cycle in science of matter, life and mind.

 

The book was a finalist for the National Book Award.

 

"Nothing short of amazing...This book is absolutely diamond bright." --The Los Angeles Times.

 

"Elegantly written... Endearing, feisty, amusing, even spiritual-- all the things we too often believe science is not." --Washington Post

 

"In the tradition of James Watson's The Double Helix and Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine...Hilts has a keen eye for the human drama of science." --San Francisco Chronicle.

 

"In spare but vigorous prose, Mr. Hilts chronicles the experience of being a scientist, with all its successes and failures -the overwhelming pressure of competition... the almost unfathomable regret of realizing that a mistaken assumption has nullified years of painstaking effort...'' --The New York Times.

 

The book was a Book of the Month Club Alternate and it was named one of Science 82 magazine's five best books of the year.