Phillippe Cluzel's Random Walk from Physics to Biology

On a bookshelf in his office, MCB Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology Philippe Cluzel keeps several beautifully bound leather tomes from his parents’ antiquarian bookstore in Paris’s Quartier Latin. One of these is a small, 19th century edition on phrenology. “When I was growing up, I was fascinated by the birth of new sciences. This book about a dubious science stood next to one on thermodynamics. I wondered what kind of argument makes something scientific when you are starting in a new direction.”

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