J. B. S. Haldane (1892-64) was one of the scientific giants of the 20th century. A polymath who made important contributions to sciences ranging from physiology to genetics and biochemistry, he was also a highly skilled writer and an extraordinary character - brilliant, witty, idealistic, funny, and pugnacious. What I Require From Life is a compilation of his popular scientific essays written from the 1940s to last years of his life, that reflect not only his masterful ability to communicate scientific understanding, but also his deep commitment to socialism. The essays included here fall into two groups; those written by Haldane during the 1940s when he embraced Marxism, and those written during his last years in India (1957-64), and they range from An Autobiography in Brief (written three years before his death), to his Marxist view of evolution The Chicken or the Egg? , to his poignant poem Cancer is a Funny Thing. Edited with an introduction by Haldane's last graduate pupil, Professor Krishna Dronamraju, this collection of thought-provoking and beautifully-written science writing also comes with a Preface written by the late Sir Arthur C.
Clarke, who provides a personal perspective on Haldane's unique place in 20th century science.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Sir Arthur C. Clarke ; Preface by James F. Crow ; Introduction by Krishna R. Dronamraju ; An Autobiography in Brief ; ESSAYS FROM THE MARXIST PERIOD (1937-50) ; How to write a popular scientific article ; Why I am a Materialist ; Adventures of words ; What I require from life ; What scientists in Russia are doing ; How we can date the past ; Averages ; Quantity and quality ; Biology and town-planning ; Inventions that made men free ; Astronomy ; The Milky way ; Is there life on the planets? ; Common sense about the planets ; Weather ; Frost ; Is man a machine? ; Breathing ; Why are you left-handed? ; Domestic animals ; Overcrowding at the Zoo ; Life slows down for winter ; Bird migration ; Why the robin sings ; How bees communicate ; The mysterious eels ; Movies for toads ; The chicken or the egg? ; The mathematics of evolution ; Back to the water ; The common cold ; Medical measurements ; The differential calculus ; What is the fourth dimension ; Relativity ; Matter and energy ; How we measured the atom ; ESSAYS FROM THE INDIAN PERIOD (1957-64) ; Some statistical adventures ; Some reflections on non-violence ; Science and floods ; Colliery explosion ; Deep mines ; The sound of one hand ; Hitting the moon ; The dog in the Sputnik ; What I want to know about Gagarin ; Some autumn stars ; The Pleiades and Orion ; Some neighbouring stars ; The seven rishis ; Jyestha ; Simplifying astronomy ; New light on memory ; Relations between biology and other sciences ; Darwin in Indian perspective ; Keeping cool ; Drug-resistant bacteria
Professor Krishna Dronamraju is President of the Foundation for Genetic Research in Houston, USA. He was a pupil and close associate of J.B.S. Haldane in India. Professor Dronamraju's previously edited books include Haldane's Daedalus Revisited, Selected Genetic Papers of JBS Haldane, and Haldane and Modern Biology. He was an Advisor to the White House and served on the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and is currently a Visiting Professor of the University of Paris, the Albert Schweitzer International University of Geneva, and an Honorary Research Fellow of University College, London.