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Book and Media Reviews
June 7, 2006

Sage of Science

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;295(21):2539-2543. doi:10.1001/jama.295.21.2542

Aristotle said, “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.” The strength of knowledge and the art of conveying it become obvious in the case of John Desmond Bernal, who was not only a great mind in science but also a mentor for other scientists, some of whom became Nobel Prize recipients. Andrew Brown's magnificent book, J. D. Bernal: The Sage of Science, provides readers the opportunity to become familiar with a fascinating and unique persona, not merely a pillar of 20th-century science but also a true erudite, who saw in teaching and in the manifestation of knowledge a life mission, a person who sought to make the utmost contribution through intense and sometimes controversial involvement in politics, a scientist whose life mirrored his multifarious personality and whose wisdom justly made him known among his friends as “Sage.”

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