The Molecular Vision of Life: Caltech, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rise of the New Biology

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1996 - Science - 304 pages
0 Reviews
"I think that it is a marvellous book. I have learned a good bit from it. I am always happy to read a book written by a person who has a mastery of the English language. Also, in addition to the other good qualities of the book, it has the best index I have ever seen." -Dr. Linus Pauling "As a contribution to the history of the American involvement in molecular biology, Kay's book is a work of considerable value, and it is written with clarity and intelligence." -Science "With grace and unerring intelligence, Lily Kay has written a history of molecular biology that all of us who work in the area have been waiting for. It will stand as a model for years to come." -Evelyn Fox Keller, University of California, Berkeley "The organizational history of Caltech is the loom on which Kay has woven an intricate fabric of the molecular vision of life. Among the threads are biographies of personal ambition; ideals and ideologies of social reform; and the intricacies of molecular biological science. Kay is one of a tiny handful of contemporary historians who combine mastery of archival materials and their narrative exposition with an informed grasp of modern science, and all bonded by sociological sensitivity. These textures refract, but do not obscure, how scientific advance is still impelled by the itch of curiosity, the thrill of discovery, and the pride of cognitive dominion-the contradictory rhetoric and complex motivations of academic entrepreneurs, foundation directors and wealthy donors notwithstanding. (The same surely holds for historical scholarship.)" -Joshua Lederberg, Rockefeller University

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Rockefeller Foundations Agenda in
Southern California and the Emergence
The Biology Division in the Morgan Era
Protein Paradigm
Physiological Genetics During Morgan Era
From Physical Chemistry to BioOrganic
Immunochemistry and Serological Genetics
Beadles Return to Caltech
Shaping of Postwar Science
Molecular Empire 19461953

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1996)

Lily E. Kay received a Ph.D. in the history of science from the Johns Hopkins University in 1987, and was a recipient of a Smithsonian Fellowship at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. in 1984. She was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in bibliography at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, and has taught at the University of Chicago. Since 1989 she has been an assistant professor of history of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Bibliographic information