The Tangled Field : Barbara McClintock's Search for the by Nathaniel C. Comfort

By Nathaniel C. Comfort

This biographical learn illuminates the most vital but misunderstood figures within the heritage of technological know-how. Barbara McClintock (1902-1992), a geneticist who built-in classical genetics with microscopic observations of the habit of chromosomes, used to be considered as a genius and as an unorthodox, approximately incomprehensible philosopher. In 1946, she found cellular genetic parts, which she known as "controlling elements." Thirty-seven years later, she received a Nobel Prize for this paintings, changing into the 3rd lady to obtain an unshared Nobel in technological know-how. in view that then, McClintock has develop into a logo of female clinical considering and the tragedy of narrow-mindedness and bias in technological know-how. utilizing McClintock's learn notes, newly on hand correspondence, and dozens of interviews with McClintock and others, convenience argues that McClintock's paintings was once neither neglected within the Fifties nor thoroughly accredited 20 years later. Nor used to be McClintock marginalized by way of scientists; during the a long time of her alleged rejection, she remained a wonderful determine in her box. convenience replaces the "McClintock delusion" with a brand new tale, wealthy with implications for our figuring out of girls in technological know-how and medical creativity. (20010601)

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Additional resources for The Tangled Field : Barbara McClintock's Search for the Patterns of Genetic Control

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5 Like Rous—but unlike the most famous example in genetics, Gregor Mendel, the father of the field— McClintock outlived the eclipse of her discovery. In her late seventies, during the ten years prior to her Nobel Prize, McClintock gave numerous interviews. She sometimes told the interviewer what he wanted to hear, but more often she built for herself a version of her past with which she could be comfortable. The interviewer who obtained the most detailed account of her childhood and early adulthood is Evelyn Fox Keller.

Her mother called up to Ithaca to ask when school started. Registration begins Monday, they replied. The M’s register Tuesday. McClintock liked to portray her life as having been visited by mysterious little miracles that opened doors for her. She never questioned them. Good luck imposes no debts. As she described the event to Franklin Portugal in 1980, getting into college was one such miracle. “I went up on the Lehigh Valley train. I got a place to stay and the next morning I was on the line with all the M’s at 8:00.

Pressed on whether her mother might have had something to do with Copyright © 2001 The President and Fellows of Harvard College 24 24 The Tangled Field it, McClintock admitted, “I don’t know. ” She easily imagined a logical scenario in which her mother had sent a telegram that was only opened and sent up to the registrar when the M’s were to come through. In McClintock’s narrative, exceptions were made for her. After she had received her doctorate, she said, “Some girl was trying to get in the Ag.

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