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This is an unauthorized biography of Leroy Edward Hood. The book opens with Hood resigning from the University of Washington in 1999. Bill Gates had lured Hood to the University in 1991 from Caltech. Hood went on to create the Institute for Systems Biology. The book then goes back to Hood’s early life and follows it forward including his education in the field of immunology. The author states Hood developed the DNA sequencing machine which revolutionized the Genomic field. Hood made tenure at Caltech at age 35 and became department head at age 41. While at Caltech Hood envisioned four machines that would create great benefit for biology and his staff went on to create these machines. Caltech has received 100s of millions of dollars from patent royalties on these machines. Timmerman points out that Hood was a leader in cross-disciplinary research. The author discusses the problem of fraud that occurred by a grad student in Hood’s laboratory as well as personality traits of Hood’s that caused problems with staff and colleagues. Timmerman won many scientific awards over the years.
The book is well written and meticulously researched. Timmerman is a biotech journalist so the book is fairly easy to read for the layman. The author points out the strengths and weaknesses of Hood’s and maintains his journalistic objectivity. Timmerman states that Hood had broad but shallow knowledge. Timmerman states Hood was the thinker or idea man and hired graduate students to do the daily chore of experimental work. The author states Hood was dedicated to innovation. The book is balanced between the man and his science.
The book is about eleven hours long. Xe Sands does a good job narrating the book. Sands is a voice-over artist and award-winning audiobook narrator.
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