Operators and Promoters: The Story of Molecular Biology and Its Creators

April 9, 2009
Author:
Harrison G. Echols
Publisher:
University of California Press (8/6/2001)

During the past four decades, molecular biology has dominated the life sciences. Curiously, no participant in this scientific revolution has previously attempted a book-length history of the development of this powerful science. Harrison (“Hatch”) Echols provides such an account in Operators and Promoters. A gifted molecular biologist and talented raconteur, Echols relates the intellectual history of the most influential discoveries in molecular biology from his own experiences.

Echols joins his vast knowledge of biology with personal interviews of the principal operators and promoters in the field to convey a captivating side of science–specifically, how the personalities of scientists and their competitive and collaborative relations affect new ideas and discoveries. The author reveals how logic and order often arise only in hindsight from the chaos of discovery; eventual solutions often come from experiments performed for entirely different reasons. Echols also shares his deep-seated feelings for the science itself, communicating his admiration, even awe, for the purity and simplicity with which life systems are organized. This gripping insider’s account of the first fifty years of molecular biology ties together the biological questions with the scientific solutions of the people who established the field. It will appeal not only to students and those interested in the development of the discipline, but to anyone intrigued by the human side of science and the process of scientific inquiry and discovery.