(Brenner, Sydney) Dyson, Freeman

Disturbing the Universe

  • First edition, first printing of Freeman Dyson’s memoirs. Signed by Dyson on the front free endpaper and from the library of Nobel Prize-winning biologist Sydney Brenner, with his ownership inscription also on the front free endpaper, “Sydney Brenner, Princeton Sep 1979”.

    Sydney Brenner (1927 - ) has been 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 Freeman Dyson is one of the 20th-century’s most prolific and versatile scientists, a leader in theoretical physics who has also turned his mind to problems in mathematics, biology and genetics, astronomy, and space exploration. Among the figures he knew, and who appear in this volume, are Richard Feynman, Robert Oppenheimer, Hans Bethe, and Edward Teller.

  • New York: Harper & Row, 1979.

    Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine gilt, buff endpapers, top edge dyed red. With the dust jacket. Head of spine very slightly faded, minor toning to the half title. An excellent copy in the lightly rubbed jacket.





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