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Blondes in Venetian Paintings, the Nine-Banded Armadillo, and Other Essays in Bi

Konrad Bloch


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In this fascinating book, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Konrad Bloch muses on various aspects of biochemistry, explaining the chemical basis for many biological phenomena. Drawing on his own experiences as well as on colorful anecdotes about the work of other scientists, Bloch presents a new way of looking at the world and a revealing glimpse into the ways that scientific discoveries are made and problems are solved.

Bloch begins with a charming essay on why—despite the fact that peroxide had not yet been invented—there are so many blonde women in Italian Renaissance paintings. He then considers, among other topics, some important biochemical processes that were discovered because of contamination; the importance of trial and error in biochemical research; the explanation of lactose intolerance in adults and practices for avoiding it; why the choice of animal models is important for medical research (and how the author injected himself with extracts of the tubercle bacilli to study the pathology of tuberculosis); and why the exotic nine-banded armadillo has unique potential for use in many areas of medical and biological investigations. He concludes with thoughts on biochemistry's origin and future.

Yale University Press, 9780300070552, 278pp.

Publication Date: February 27, 1997