Chemistry & Physics

(Brenner, Sydney) Eigen, Manfred & Ruthild Winkler | Das Spiel

  • First edition, first impression. Presentation inscribed by Winkler and signed by Eigen, to Nobel prize-winning biologist Sydney Brenner on the front free endpaper, “To Sydney, with best wishes, yours, Ruthild & Manfred, Göttingen, 1.12.75”.

    Recipient Sydney Brenner (1927-2019) was a leader in the field of genetics almost from the moment he received his doctorate at Oxford in 1954. He joined Francis Crick’s laboratory in 1956, and they did groundbreaking research on how DNA is decoded by cells. Brenner proposed that the nucleotides which comprise DNA (adenine, guanine, thiamine and cytosine) are read by the cell in sets of three called codons, with each codon representing an amino acid (for example, three adenines in a row is the codon for the amino acid lysine). A gene is simply a string of codons that directs the production of a protein molecule from individual amino acids. He also correctly predicted the existence of messenger RNA, the molecule that carries the genetic code from the nucleus to the ribosomes, where the translation process occurs.

    Following this work, it was Brenner’s efforts to establish a new laboratory organism for the study of genetics that led to his Nobel Prize. “Beginning in 1965, he began to lay the groundwork to make C. elegans, a small, transparent nematode, into a major model organism for genetics, neurobiology and developmental biology research. As a direct result of his original vision, this tiny worm became the first animal for which the complete cell lineage and entire neuronal wiring were known. Today, more than 1,000 investigators are studying C. elegans, and Brenner’s work was further honored when a closely related nematode was named Caenorhabditis brenneri” (Salk Institute biography).

    Author Manfred Eigen was a biochemist who made important contributions in a number of subjects, including the “hydrogen bridges of nucleic acids... the dynamics of code transfer... enzymes and lipid membranes” as well as “biological control and regulation processes, and the problem of the storage of information in the central nervous system” (Nobel Prize biography). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1967 for his work measuring fast chemical reactions. His co-author, Ruthild Winkler (1941-), is also a biochemist who has studied fast chemical reactions, game theory models for molecular evolution, and the use of DNA and RNA sequence analysis to study the early history of biological evolution.

    The present volume, titled in English The Laws of the Game: How the Principles of Nature Govern Chance, uses game theory to “show how the elements of chance and rules underlie all that happens in the universe, from genetic behavior through economic growth to the composition of music. To illustrate their argument, the authors turn to classic games — backgammon, bridge, and chess — and relate them to physical, biological, and social applications of probability theory and number theory. Further, they have invented, and present here, more than a dozen playable games derived from scientific models for equilibrium, selection, growth, and even the composition of RNA” Princeton University Press blurb).

  • ...Naturgesetze Steuern den Zufall. Munich & Zurich: R. Piper & Co., 1975.

    Octavo. Original red boards, titles to spine in grey. With the dust jacket and the original wraparound band. Diagrams within the text. Correction slip loosely inserted. Corners and ends of spine slightly bumped, narrow faded strip at the tail of the spine. A very good copy in the jacket with faded spine panel, creasing and bumping along the edges, and a tear at the head of the spine panel.