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The story of Max Perutz, a pioneering biologist with a remarkable passion for life

04/09/2008

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. – Max Perutz, a pioneer in the field of protein crystallography and a Nobel laureate, was one of the first to study the molecular structures of proteins. His life story, wonderfully told by Georgina Ferry, was recently published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

“Max Perutz was not ‘just’ a scientist,” wrote Dr. Richard E. Dickerson of UCLA while reviewing the book in the journal Protein Science. “[H]e was a fine human being with strong family ties and with interests that ranged far beyond protein structures.” The book, which is entitled Max Perutz and the Secret of Life, includes pictures that reflect Max’s personal and professional life, as well as insights gained through access to his personal letters.

Born in Vienna, Jewish by descent, and lapsed Catholic by religion, Max came to Cambridge in 1936 to join the lab of the legendary Communist thinker J.D. Bernal. There he began a 70-year career in science. In 1940 he was interned and deported to Canada as an enemy alien, only to be brought back and set to work on a bizarre top-secret war project. In 1947, he founded the small research group in which Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA: under his leadership it grew to become the world-famous Laboratory for Molecular Biology.

“Ferry succeeds in bringing [Perutz] sharply to life,” wrote Dr. Gregory Petsko, Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at Brandeis University, in a review of the book in the journal Nature. “[She] avoids the pop-psychology that permeates so many modern biographies, while offering insight into Perutz’s temperament and behaviour.”


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About the book:

Max Perutz and the Secret of Life (ISBN 978-087969-785-3) was written by Georgina Ferry. It is 352 pp. in length (illus., glossary, index) and is available in hardcover. For a complete table of contents or to order a copy, visit www.cshlpress.com/link/perutz.htm . All orders from outside of the United States, Europe, and China must be directed to Chatto and Windus, an imprint of Random House at www.randomhouse.co.uk/chatto . Ferry talks about Max’s life in a podcast and slideshow available at www.cshlpress.com/ferry.tpl .

About the author: Georgina Ferry is a former staff editor on New Scientist, and contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Science Now. Her books include the acclaimed biography Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life (1998), The Common Thread (2002, with Sir John Sulston), and A Computer Called LEO (2003). She lives in Oxford.

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:
Ingrid Benirschke,
Book Marketing Manager
benirsch@cshl.edu ; 619-275-6021



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