COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Sept. 22, 2010) -- From helping to decipher the genetic code to establishing the worm C. elegans as a model organism, and from directing the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge to advising research institutes around the world, Nobel Prize winner Sydney Brenner has had a long and impressive career. Few scientists have achieved as much as Brenner in both research and administration of science, and he has done so while enjoying a well-deserved reputation for iconoclasm and irreverent wit. The new book Sydney Brenner: A Biography, written by Errol C. Friedberg and published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, documents Brenner's game-changing discoveries in the field of molecular biology, all brightened by his entertaining personality.
"Sydney Brenner is among the very few key individuals to foster the early development of the discipline of molecular biology," writes Friedberg in the book's preface. "But aside from his scientific contributions, which remain undiminished, Brenner possesses a broad intellect that embraces more than a superficial knowledge of the arts and history, and his talent as a raconteur is widely celebrated . . . He is, in fact, the proverbial enfant terrible."
This biography traces Brenner's life from his early years as the child of immigrant parents in the small town of Germiston, South Africa, to his current role at the age of 83, as an energetic advocate of new ideas and avenues in biological research throughout the world. The book is based on his personal recollections and papers, with contributions and correspondence from his close friends and colleagues; much of this material is housed in the Sydney Brenner Collection at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library and Archives.
At twenty-two, Brenner left Johannesburg for graduate studies at Oxford University. There he established important connections, notably with Francis Crick and James Watson
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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory