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capable ofresponse, and surely it is not too much to hope diat any social scientist diese days ought recognize that any public authority whose financing is based on imposts on tangible property is hopelessly handicapped in an economy in which the evidences of value are increasingly intangible. The author is correct in urging that rhetoric be lowered. Tragically, the ill-considered content of The Unheavenly City guarantees quite the opposite. Julian H. Levi Division ofSocial Sciences University ofChicago First and Last Experiments in Muscle Mechanics. By A. V. Hill. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Pp. 140. $9.50. This small but not insignificant volume of 140 pages is remarkable for a number of reasons. Itis apersonalizedhistory ofresearch onsomephases ofmusclephysiology by die person who undoubtedly played the greatest role ofany living scientist in the prosecution ofthe research and the theoretical interpretation offacts that were brought to light in the fields in question. Although many other physiologists before and during the time that A. V. Hill was an acknowledged world leader in muscle physiology employed the tools of physics and chemistry in elucidating physiological phenomena, it is probably fair to say that he was the most lucid early exponent ofthe importance ofbiophysics to physiology . He was not always right about his interpretations but he has always been perfectly willing to accept the verdict ofnew discovery in requiring die amendment or even repeal ofearlier conclusions. The presentvolumeprovides examples ofsuch "metamorphoses"—¦ ifone can use that term to cover changes in form oftheories. The book under review is a demonstration of the genius for lucidity in exposition which is part of the reason for its author having been a towering figure in twentiethcentury physiology. However, Hill also takes up important problems. The questions he asks now are currently as well as historically pertinent ones, and, as an older man should, he raises new pertinent questions for others to answer later. When I was asked to write this review I took occasion to look at the author's earlier books, ranging from his Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution in London, repeated as the Lowell Lectures in Boston in 1927, to his The Ethical Dilemma ofScience in i960. A. V. Hill has always had a facility for linking current science with history and philosophy. He does itjust as well in 1970 as he did in 1927. One has the impression as one reads Hill's writings that one gets to know the man. There is a happy lack ofself-consciousness and an abundance ofcandor which gives credibility to his self-portrait. In his latest volume— one hopes it will not be his last—he has incorporated as a more or less extraneous addendum his address on the occasion ofthe Twenty-third International Congress ofPhysiological Sciences in Tokyo in 1965. In it he recalled his work with his former research pupil and associate, Prof. Kyotaro Azuma, who had become the governor of Tokyo. He also recounts some history of earlier international physiological congresses that he 344 Book Reviews Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Winter 1971 attended, dwelling particularly upon the personal anecdotes and snatches ofdescription of world-famous figures who came together on diese occasions. Hill has been concerned, not only with the intimate physics ofmuscular contraction, but with overall motor performance as well. This reviewer remembers well Hill's lecture on "The physiological basis ofathletic records," given before the British Association for the Advancement ofScience in Southhampton in 1925, to which he refers in this volume, and reports that Professor Azuma credits this lecture with the arousal of his interest in 'sports physiology," which in turn resulted later in his life in his becoming a member of die International Olympic Committee and bringing the Olympic Games to Tokyo in 1964. Hill does not mention another consequence ofhis 1925 lecture, but Azuma has told me diat his excursion into postwar Japanese politics was a direct consequence of the fact that his national prominence as the representative ofJapan on the Olympic Committee made him an attractive nominee for the governorship ofTokyo Prefecture for the Conservative party. Few lectures by physiologists, one may be sure, have played such a part in determining the outcome of governorship (equivalent to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 344-345
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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