What mad pursuit : a personal view of scientific discovery

by Francis Crick

Paperback, 1988




[USA] : Basic Books, 1988.


Candid, provocative, and disarming, this is the widely-praised memoir of the co-discoverer of the double helix of DNA.

User reviews

LibraryThing member P_S_Patrick
“What Mad Pursuit”, the autobiography of Francis Crick – Co-founder of the double helical structure of DNA. This one provides a bit of a contrast to Watson's recollections of the discovery and his autobiography, as Crick comes across as a milder personality, albeit with no less ambition and intelligence. The most interesting parts of this book seem to be Cricks views on science, how it should be done, and what are the best parts of it, and this is something in common with Watson's “Avoid Boring People”, which was also interesting on account of it detailing the authors opinions. A part of this book covers the science of the discovery, and what was found out after the discovery, and musings on evolution, but these will only be of much interest to a non-scientist, as most scientists will know it all inside out by now. Though perhaps the experimental technique – how they got where they did, would still be interesting, as it is always informative to see inside the minds of the men who made the great discoveries. Also, it is interesting and encouraging to see how they went wrong along the way, and such pieces of advice as not to hang onto theories that aren't working, and to try something else, may seem common sense, but in reality do hold up the advances that could have been made sooner otherwise.
The latter part of the book moves onto the scientific interests of Crick in later life, which include the mind, and perception, and though he didn't contribute greatly to this field, he still shows a competence of knowledge in understanding how progress should be sought. Overall this was a good read, and one which probably warrants more attention than it receives.
… (more)
LibraryThing member guhlitz
This reading was one of the most fun I have had looking through the muse of a disciplined scientist. His re-telling of his modest beginnings, through his and his team discovering the DNA molecule and further, was nothing less than charming. His humors are attractive in so many ways, on the verge of irreverence, tipping the scales on self deprecation, the roasting of oneself comes to mind; yet beautifully dignified all the way through. Coming from one of the primary contributers to the discovery of DNA, being a scientific marvel of the twentieth century, this book is a sweetheart of all sweethearts. God bless Francis Crick.… (more)
LibraryThing member amarcobio
Crick's view on the discovery of the DNA structure and other of his scientific endeavours. Interesting bits on his interactions with Brenner. This book is better than Watson's Double Helix in the sense that may be more accurate, but it is less engaging.


Local notes

ephemera: in book. NY Times review of book, 4/9/89
Page: 0.231 seconds