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Because "the very character of human existence is now molded by the products of scientific technology," society in general is acutely conscious ofthe scientist and his role in the affairs ofthe world. This public awareness ofthe scientist and his own reaction to the vasdy expanded stage he occupies form the last two chapters ofthis provocative book. Their titles, "The Dehumanization ofthe Scientists," and "The Humanness of Science, are as contradictory as their contents. In the former, Dr. Dubos weighs the motivations of the scientist and wonders whether the thirst for knowledge may not often be "a kind ofintellectual lust rather than a love of truth." He further touches upon the scientist's inner conflicts which arise from the choice between scientific pursuits for their own sake and applied science gearedto "useful" results. Since the modernworldtends to valuemore highly and, therefore, more readily provides financial support for the latter, the scientist has become more pragmatically oriented and has removed himself further and further from philosophical and intellectual involvement. He has created his ownjargon and has isolated himselfwithhis narrow coterie offellow specialists; and, with a certain arrogance, he has become alooffrom the general society ofsavants ofwhich his intellectual ancestors formed an integral part. In the words ofMiguel de Unamuno and Ortega y Gasset quoted in the book, the modern scientist has become "thoroughly dehumanized." And yet, according to Dr. Dubos, this state, too, must be transitory. The problems raised by the progress of science are so vast and threatening—be they overpopulation or nuclear power—that they provide Dr. Dubos with the title for his book, which he took from an inscription by Goya on one ofhis etchings. In full it reads: "The dreams ofreason create monsters." So horrifying are these monsters that Dr. Dubos believes that only the scientists who created them can control them. It is in this context that science must return to "humanness," and that the scientist must again learn to identify himselfwith mankind as a whole. In his closing words, Dr. Dubos concedes that this may not be too difficult a task, for while "individual scientists may display an intellectual arrogance, ... as a class . . . [they] have remained humble." Goya's beautiful etching is reproduced in the book; it is one ofsixteen illustrations that accompany the brilliant text. Indeed, its very brilliance makes it difficult for the reviewer to do justice to the book. I found myselfarrested over and over again by the epigrammatic succinctness ofthe style, the superb imagery, and the enormous breadth ofreference . It is an extremely thoughtful and thought-provoking work, which should have meaning for every thinking person, be he scientist or scholar or simply a citizen ofthe modern world. Ilza Veith University ofChicago OfMice, Men and Molecules. ByJohn H. Heller. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, i960. Pp. 176. $3.95. In this small volume Dr. Heller gives an engrossing account of the founding and growth ofthe New England Institute for Medical Research. His graphic description of theearly struggles to develop aresearch institute where notiiing grewbefore is an interest257 ing commentary on the organization and support ofresearch in this country. Ifthis book is read by nonscientists, this section alone should provide much food for thought. How relatively easy it is to obtain support for a project with a defined beginning and a defined end; how hard it is to find the money to pay the man who sweeps the floor ofthe laboratory or to buy die postage stamps or to pay die electric light bill. In his accounts ofspecific problems in which the New England Institute is participating , Heller does indeed evoke some ofdie excitement which comes widi the chase. His discussion of work on die reticuloendothelial system, shark hunting, psychomimetic drugs, radiofrequency, electric eels, and botulinum toxin are good models with which to capture the imagination ofthe lay reader and to illustrate die rich and unexpected rewards which lie in the padi ofthe investigator receptive enough to look up and down some of the side streets which intersect the main highway ofresearch. The audior makes a strong plea for die cultivation ofbasic research, but the distinction between basic research and applied research is, in die opinion ofthis reviewer, somewhat blurred. One finishes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 257-258
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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