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Unravelling the Double Helix

The Lost Heroes of DNA

Gareth Williams

$24.99

Paperback

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Weidenfeld & Nicolson
02 April 2020
DNA. The double helix; the blueprint of life; and, during the early 1950s, a baffling enigma that could win a Nobel Prize. Everyone knows that James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double helix. In fact, they clicked into place the last piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle that other researchers had assembled over decades. Researchers like Maurice Wilkins (the 'Third Man of DNA') and Rosalind Franklin, famously demonised by Watson. Not forgetting the 'lost heroes' who fought to prove that DNA is the stuff of genes, only to be airbrushed out of history.

In UNRAVELLING THE DOUBLE HELIX, Professor Gareth Williams sets the record straight. He tells the story of DNA in the round, from its discovery in pus-soaked bandages in 1868 to the aftermath of Watson's best-seller THE DOUBLE HELIX a century later. You don't need to be a scientist to enjoy this book. It's a page-turner that unfolds like a detective story, with suspense, false leads and treachery, and a fabulous cast of noble heroes and back-stabbing villains. But beware: some of the science is dreadful, and the heroes and villains may not be the ones you expect.
By:   Gareth Williams
Imprint:   Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 196mm,  Width: 126mm,  Spine: 24mm
Weight:   360g
ISBN:   9781474609371
ISBN 10:   1474609376
Pages:   528
Publication Date:   02 April 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Gareth Williams is Emeritus Professor and former Dean of Medicine at the University of Bristol. His previous books for general readers are Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize of 2010), Paralysed with Fear: The Story of Polio and A Monstrous Commotion: The Mysteries of Loch Ness. He is a past president of the Anglo-French Medical Society and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Angers. He is often to be found playing the flute or saxophone in and around Bristol.

Reviews for Unravelling the Double Helix: The Lost Heroes of DNA

...a riveting good read...Not only did I find it hard to put down, I'm now moved to seek out other science histories by Williams. Highly recommended. * CHEMISTRY WORLD * This is a FANTASTIC book -- Professor Alice Roberts via Twitter (@theAliceRoberts) Gareth Williams, the former dean of medicine at Bristol University, has woven a truly superb narrative from short biographies of all the scientists who contributed to, and in some cases just missed out on, the epochal discovery that the secret of life is a digital linear code written on DNA ... By choosing to fill in the gaps in conventional accounts, Williams has done a good job of telling the whole story of science's greatest discovery. He has done it with fluency and a real feel for narrative -- Matt Ridley * The Times *


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