APPRENTICE TO GENIUS: The Making of a Scientific Dynasty

From the author of the best-selling The Man Who Knew Infinity, comes an unprecedented look at the traditional master-apprentice relationship alive today in modern science. Robert Kanigel takes us into the heady world of a remarkable group of scientists working at the National Institutes of Health and the Johns Hopkins University: a dynasty of American researchers who for more than forty years have made Nobel Prize- and Lasker Award-winning breakthroughs in biomedical science. He brilliantly captures the drama of fine minds and explosive personalities at work -- whether Bernard Brodie and Julius Axelrod discovering a new wonder drug called Tylenol or Solomon Snyder and Candace Pert unlocking the chemical secrets of the brain. And as we watch ideas debated, experiments working and failing, careers and relationships tested, and professional honors lost and won, we see close up all that is so deeply human in the practice of science. In a new epilogue to this edition, Kanigel brings us up-to-date on the lives and careers of these unforgettable personalities.

-- From the Johns Hopkins University Press paperback edition, 1993

Publishing History


Macmillan hardcover, 1986
Johns Hopkins University Press paperback, 1993
Taiwanese edition, Commonwealth Publishing, 1998
Chinese edition, Shanghai Scientific, 2001

Library of Science Book Club selection
Library Journal, Best Sci-Tech Books of 1986

Selected reviews: Publishers Weekly, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune, The Scientist, Chemical and Engineering News, Isis, Bioscience, Science, Journal of the American Medical Association, Nature



Macmillan hardcover, 1986

"A brilliantly written book, and a new kind of book, about what, at the very highest level, can be taught; not information, but investigative style. No one interested in science or quick-cut melodrama should miss Apprentice to Genius. -- Hugh Kenner

"Carries the reader behind the scenes to watch the almost magical cascade of ideas and experiments that are laying the human mind bare -- and which, when added together, probably sum up to the greatest discovery of our century." -- Jon Franklin, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in science writing

-- From the dustjacket of the original Macmillan hardcover edition, 1986