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When big was beautiful

Nicholas Wade, 20 August 1992

Big Science: The Growth of Large-Scale Research 
edited by Peter Galison and Bruce Helvy.
Stanford, 392 pp., $45, April 1992, 0 8047 1879 2
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The Code of Codes 
edited by Daniel Kevles and Leroy Hood.
Harvard, 397 pp., £23.95, June 1992, 0 674 13645 4
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... Under the Reagan Administration the United States embarked on a fistful of big science projects, from the space station to the superconducting supercollider and the human genome project. The usefulness of these ventures, by and large, lies in inverse proportion to their cost. The $30,000 million space station will serve little detectable purpose save making work for hungry defence contractors, whereas the $3000 million human genome project could one day allow the history of evolution to be read like a book ...

I’m a Surfer

Steven Shapin: What’s the Genome Worth?, 20 March 2008

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life 
by Craig Venter.
Allen Lane, 390 pp., £25, October 2007, 978 0 7139 9724 8
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... technology. Just after he published the sequence of the adrenaline gene, Venter read a paper by Leroy Hood that announced a radical new advance in the techniques of DNA sequencing. Hood and his colleagues had invented a machine that used fluorescent dyes, a laser-reading system, a photomultiplier detecting tube and ...

France’s Favourite Criminal

Douglas Johnson, 7 August 1980

Mesrine: the Life and Death of a Super-crook 
by Carey Schofield.
Penguin, 201 pp., £95, April 1980, 0 14 005607 6
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... Spaggiari (known as ‘Bert’) had made a dramatic escape. More recently there was a certain Leroy, the trusted employee of a security company, who had suggested to his three fellow guards that he would spend the long summer’s night cleaning all their revolvers; once they were disarmed he had used his weapon to subdue them and disappeared with the ...

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