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Krishna Dronamraju

What I Require From Life

In What I Require From Life: Writings on science and life from J.B.S. Haldane Krishna Dronamraju has chosen a selection of the many articles written by Haldane.

The book is in two parts, the first consisting of articles written for the British Communist paper 'Daily Worker' in the 1940's, the second of articles written after Haldane moved to India in . When one considers what was happening in the Soviet Union at the time, one can't help feeling that Haldane was very naive with his ideas of a Leninist paradise - he did eventually come to see what was wrong with Soviet communism.

Mostly the book demonstrates Haldane's breadth of knowledge. He was a biologist and wrote about topics from many areas of biology such as genetics, how bees communicate, and how we breathe, but he also was highly knowledgable about the rest of the sciences, writing about the planets, the weather and the differential calculus - all aimed at a non-technical audience. Of course the work is somewhat dated now, but it is interesting to see what people thought about the atom bomb and the first man into space when they first happened, and some of the articles seem much more modern than you might expect.

I'd recommend the book both to anyone wanting to find out more about Haldane's life and to those who are interested in what went on in science in the middle of the 20th century.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews