history of science

Adam Rutherford on His Latest Book about Eugenics

Today’s podcast features Adam Rutherford, a geneticist trained at University College London who has spent much of his career as a science communicator: as an editor at Nature, as a radio and television commentator for the BBC, and as the author of such books with delightful titles, including "Creation: the Origin of Life/The Future of Life and A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived" and "How to Argue With a Racist". With his most recent book, "CONTROL: The Dark History and Troubled Present of Eugenics", Adam takes on the complicated, disturbing, and occasionally simply weird history of an idea that was the impetus for the earliest forms of clinical genetics: that society could be improved through felicitous breeding.

Walter Isaacson, "The Code Breaker"

Walter Isaacson, who has written biographies that explore the birth of the atomic age (Einstein) and the digital age (Jobs), now turns his attention to the biotech revolution, as embodied by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna with his new book, The Code Breaker. The discovery of CRISPR and its transformation from a bacterial system of immunity to a biotech toolkit was not a one-woman show, and I wondered if this famous chronicler of visionaries might take sides in what has become an occasionally less-than-genteel battle for credit, prizes, and patents.  But NO – this book opens up to cover a broad cast of characters, each of them given their due – so that Jennifer Doudna’s story is not a mere lionization but an entry point to a bigger, broader tapestry, the first draft of one of the most important moments in the history of science.




Bob Resta

Welcome to Episode #1.

Bob Resta turns an anthropologist’s eye on genetic counseling, from the arrival of amniocentesis to current issues stemming from routinized testing and conflict of interest. He’s not the Founder of Genetic Counseling, but he may be the field’s foremost Grumpy Uncle.

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