23/05: Gareth Williams 'Unravelling the Double Helix'
UNRAVELLING THE DOUBLE HELIX covers the most colourful period in the history of DNA, from the discovery of ‘nuclein’ (in pus-soaked bandages) in 1868 to the publication of James Watson's best-selling The Double Helix a century later. These hundred years witnessed the births of the Nobel Prizes, antibiotics, X-ray crystallography and the atom bomb, as well as both World Wars – and all these events moulded the story of DNA.
This is a saga packed with awful mistakes as well as brilliant science, played out by a wonderful cast of heroes and villains. Surprisingly, much of it is unfamiliar. Everyone knows that Watson and Crick cracked the double helix, but Williams shows that they clicked into place the last pieces of a massive jigsaw puzzle which others had taken decades to assemble.
Gareth Williams is Emeritus Professor and former Dean of Medicine at the University of Bristol. His previous books include ANGEL OF DEATH: THE STORY OF SMALLPOX (‘medical history at its absolute best’; shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2010), PARALYSED WITH FEAR: THE STORY OF POLIO (‘an incredible story told by a great storyteller’), and A MONSTROUS COMMOTION: THE MYSTERIES OF LOCH NESS (‘excellent .. briliantly entertaining’). He is a past president of the Anglo-French Medical Society and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Angers.
Date: Thurs, 23rd May
Venue: Henleaze Library
Price: £5 including wine and nibbles