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In new novel, secret discovery threatens company, damages love affair, and undermines science as search for truth

11/29/2010

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Nov. 29, 2010) – Research scientist Jennifer Rohn’s newly released novel, The Honest Look, set in a start-up biotechnology company, explores conflicts between the need for scientific truth and the drive for commercial success.

Rohn, a cell biologist at University College London and the Founder and Editor of LabLit.com, has received abundant praise for her fiction. “Novels that portray scientists as protagonists, doing science in a realistic way, are scarce,” wrote Nature’s reviewer about her first novel, Experimental Heart (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2008).  “Rohn aims to change the way in which the reading public thinks about scientists.”

The Honest Look centers on biologist Dr Claire Cyrus.  By becoming a scientist, she hopes to escape the influence of her dead father, a brilliant but critically unsuccessful poet whose bitterness has derailed her own strong talent for verse.  Hired for her technical skills by a start-up biotech company in the Netherlands, she finds herself at first an outcast, shunned by jealous colleagues.  Attracted to one of them, and hoping to impress him with an innovative investigation, she makes a secret discovery that becomes a threat to the company, her career, her relationship, and her belief in science as a search for truth.

The novel is a tale of passion and betrayal that illuminates the tensions between the idealism of furthering knowledge and the realities of financial goals. The Honest Look is inhabited by characters portrayed with an authenticity founded on Rohn’s intimate knowledge of the scientific community, yet she has skillfully made her story exciting and engaging for readers not trained in science.  Claire’s solace in poetry is reflected by frequent quotations from Tennyson, Whitman, St. Vincent Millay, and Shakespeare. As Cell’s reviewer wrote of Experimental Heart, “Rohn’s skill in melding the scientific and literary worlds will give you a fresh perspective on life and work”.
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About the book:
The Honest Look was written by Jennifer L. Rohn (University College London) and published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press (ISBN 978-1-936113-11-8; © 2010). It is available in paperback (343 pp., 5 1/2” × 8 1/4”) and will be released as an ebook. For more information, see http://www.cshlpress.com/link/honestlook.htm.

About the author:
Jennifer L. Rohn earned a Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Seattle, and then did postdoctoral research in London and the Netherlands, before becoming an editor and journalist, writing features for professional publications such as Nature and The Scientist. While majoring in biology at Oberlin College, Ohio, she noted the rampant stereotyping of scientists in the media and decided to do something about it. In 2005, she founded LabLit.com, an online magazine that promotes the use of realistic science and scientists in mainstream fiction, and since then, she has served as its Editor. Dr. Rohn is a Wellcome Trust post-doctoral cell biologist at University College London, chairs a well-attended book club at The Royal Institution in London, blogs regularly at Mind The Gap, and appears on TV, radio, podcasts, live panels, documentaries, and in print as a science/literature/art/culture pundit.  Her first novel, Experimental Heart, was short-listed for the Dundee International Book Prize in 2007.  She recently founded “Science Is Vital”, a campaign to prevent destructive levels of cuts to science funding in the UK ( scienceisvital.org.uk ).

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is an internationally renowned publisher of books, journals, and electronic media, located on Long Island, New York. Since 1933, it has furthered the advance and spread of scientific knowledge in all areas of genetics and molecular biology, including cancer biology, plant science, bioinformatics, and neurobiology. It is a division of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an innovator in life science research and the education of scientists, students, and the public. For more information, visit www.cshlpress.com .

Contact:
Jane Carter, Book Marketing and Sales Account Manager
carter@cshl.edu; 516-422-4071



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