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Heraclitean Fire

Sketches from a Life Before Nature

by Erwin Chargaff

The eminent biochemist reflects on his life and work in Vienna and in America, shedding light on his DNA research and the work and opinions that led to his reputation as a maverick

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Recommendations: 1

Categories: Biographies & MemoirsScience

Reading time: 78 hours


Eric Weinstein
Mathematician and Managing Director of Thiel Capital

By Chargaff, who is the guy who effectively shorted Watson and Crick. He told Watson and Crick that he didn’t think that they were very good and very smart, and they didn’t know their chemistry. They weren’t qualified to work on DNA. And it turned out that they got it right and he got it wrong. And when I heard that there was somebody who bet against Watson and Crick, I thought, well, this is just gonna be the laugh of the century. But it turned out, just to short those guys required another genius. And he writes about trying to suppress these guys and failing because they were right and he was wrong. And he has enough presence of mind to struggle with it. So these are books that I think are incredibly powerful because they talk about what it’s like to be one against the many.