Science does not offer a quiet life. Imagination, creativity, ambition, and conflict are as vital and abundant in science as in artistic endeavours. In this delightful collection of essays, Nobel Laureate Max Perutz writes about the pursuit of scientific knowledge, which he sees as an enterprise providing not just a few facts but cause for reflection and revelation. This book contains detective stories, tales of conflict and battle, a woman's love affair with crystals, a man's gruesome fascination with poison gas, perils both phantom and real, and entertaining glimpses of Perutz's own long and exceptional life. Perutz views science as a passionate enterprise and the pursuit of knowledge as a sortie into the unknown: these essays explore a remarkable range of topics, both scientific and personal, with the lucidity and precision that he brought to his own pioneering work in protein crystallography.
Max Perutz, FRS, was Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology from its foundation in 1962 until 1979, and remained a member of the scientific staff there until his death in February 2002. In addition to many other awards and honours, he received, with John Kendrew, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1972 for the first solution of the structure of proteins.