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Dancing naked in the mind field de Kary B.…
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Dancing naked in the mind field (edição: 2000)

de Kary B. Mullis

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Here are the outrageous ideas and extraordinary adventures of the world's most eccentric and outspoken Nobel Prize-winning scientist. Awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1993, Kary Mullis has frequently been at odds with the scientific establishment. Legendary for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which redefined the world of DNA and genetics, Mullis is also an accomplished surfer, a veteran of Berkeley in the sixties, and perhaps the only Nobel laureate to describe a possible encounter with aliens. A scientist of boundless curiosity who refuses to accept any proposition based on secondhand or hearsay evidence, he is brilliant, funny, provocative, and charismatic. In Dancing Naked in the Mind Field Mullis writes with passion and humor about a wide range of subjects: from the scientific method to parapsychology, from poisonous spiders to the HIV virus and AIDS, from global warming to astrology, from the O. J. Simpson trial to how you can turn a light bulb on with your mind. A multidimensional playland of ideas, this book challenges us to question the authority of scientific dogma even as it reveals the workings of an uncannily original scientific mind.… (mais)
Membro:jusamalav
Título:Dancing naked in the mind field
Autores:Kary B. Mullis
Informação:New York, Vintage books, 2000
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Dancing Naked in the Mind Field de Kary Mullis

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(review originally written for Bookslut)

It is widely accepted in the scientific community that Kary Mullis is a kook. Which is a rather odd reaction to a man who has won a Nobel Prize in chemistry and who invented PCR, a tool that not many microbiologists or biochemists would happily live without. But I suppose that it's to be expected, as most press attention that Kary Mullis receives is not centered around his scientific achievements, but rather around his passion for surfing, his past use of LSD, and his reputation for chasing women.

So a book by Kary Mullis is bound to be more interesting than the average book of essays written by a chemist. And oh, is it. To sum up: Mullis believes in astrology, traveling through the astral plane, recreational use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, and glowing raccoons that talk. He doesn't believe in global warming, the advice of nutritionists, or the fact that HIV causes AIDS. To put it mildly, the theories and opinions expressed in his book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, are controversial.

They are also terribly fascinating. Amongst the many things that Kary Mullis is, he is also an excellent story teller. I ended up reading at least 80% of this book aloud to my husband. It would start out, "Oh, you have to hear this!", and then I would inevitably back up and read him the whole chapter. In this book, Mullis meets the empress of Japan and calls her "sweetie," nearly kills himself with nitrous oxide, is bitten by several brown recluses back when the only known treatment was surgery, speaks to a glowing raccoon in the forest, accidentally causes an explosion during a science demonstration, and also accidentally makes tear gas in a friend's garage the summer after they graduated from high school. He has no shortage of interesting stories to tell, and he tells them well.

He's also very persuasive. I read the chapter on astrology and was ready to go out and buy an astrological chart. I read the chapter on appropriate use of scientific funding and inquiry and was ready to write a letter to my congressman, asking him to defund the relativistic heavy ion collider (RHIC) in favor of funding the search for near-Earth asteroids that could collide with our planet. (This is especially significant because I spent two years working on projects related to RHIC while pursuing my masters degree, and actually have two friends employed at RHIC right now.) Of course, most of these conversions were short-lived, and on some issues he never had much of a chance of convincing me (in fact I think it's dangerous to assert that human beings could not possibly alter the climate), but some of his arguments linger. For instance, there is a disturbing lack of scientific evidence supporting the claim that the HIV virus causes AIDS. It sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory at first to doubt something that we've all taken for granted for so long, but if it were true, why aren't there articles in peer-reviewed journals offering evidence to that end?

Kary Mullis can mess with your mind just as effectively as a dose of LSD. So if you read this book, read it with a healthy dose of scientific skepticism. As Mullis himself points out, just because something is published (and even in a scientific journal), that doesn't make it so. And just because the man won a Nobel prize, that doesn't mean he's an expert on every topic he discusses. But read this book because it's fun.

I promise it will make you laugh. And shake your head in disbelief. The only thing it won't do is bore you. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
Nobel per la chimica nel 1993, Kary Mullis è divenuto una leggenda per la scoperta della PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), una tecnica che ha rivoluzionato il mondo della chimica e della genetica.
Esperto surfista e contestatore nella Berkeley negli anni Sessanta, Mullis è l'unico Nobel ad aver descritto un possibile incontro con gli alieni.
Scienziato dalle curiosità senza limiti, Mullis si è spesso scontrato con le posizioni «ortodosse» della scienza, rifiutando di accettare qualsiasi teorema fondato su prove di seconda mano o testimonianze indirette, come mostrano gli aneddoti curiosi qui narrati in tono ironico e brillante.
In Ballando nudi nel campo della mente Mullis spazia dal metodo scientifico alla parapsicologia, dai ragni velenosi al virus HIV e all'AIDS, dall'effetto serra all'astrologia, dal processo a O.J. Simpson alla possibilità di accendere una lampadina con i poteri della mente.
Simile a un esplosivo laboratorio di idee, questo libro ci sfida a mettere in discussione l'autorità della scienza dogmatica, mostrando pagina dopo pagina come vive, lavora (e si diverte) una delle menti più brillanti dell'ultimo secolo.
«Ho cominciato a fare uso di droghe fin da bambino. Era mia madre a darmele: mi fece iniziare con i barbiturici.
Quando avevo il raffreddore, lei mi comprava un inalatore per benzedrina: dentro all'apparecchio c'era un pezzettino di cotone che veniva saturato di amfetamina. Era un tubetto di plastica biancastra che costava 39 centesimi, ed entrava comodamente nella mia tasca. Potevo sedermi di fronte alla mia insegnante di prima elementare e sniffare tranquillamente. Dava sollievo quando avevi il naso intasato, e ti tirava su se il raffreddore cercava di buttarti giù.
Se oggi studenti di prima decidessero di fare una cosa del genere, non arriverebbero mai a vedere le glorie della seconda classe.» ( )
  MensCorpore | Jul 1, 2015 |
I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed, I expected more from a Nobel prize winner. The book is full of personal stories, which sometimes are interesting, but they are told in a superficial way, there is not that depth I would have hoped for. While reading one may wonder why is the author writing that. This is because the stories appear to be disorganised. Fair enough, it's just a collection of anecdotes, not really a book.

The scientist however makes a few interesting points and I think it's refreshing for once, to see that "conspiracy" theories do not come just from simple people. I was glad to be reminded that economic interests are there in every field, because lately I had felt alone in thinking in that way... I also liked the final thoughts about the universe and our perception of reality. It is something I had thought many times, but again it's nice to find a clever mind who thinks alike. I wanted more though from someone of his calibre :) ( )
  Princesca | May 5, 2013 |
Un tipo strambo.
Alcune sue teorie sono probabilmente poco condivisibili però alla fine è un libro molto godibile u_u ( )
  Malla-kun | Sep 22, 2012 |
From a consummate genius; developer of PCR; a bit of a strange man. It was lovely to see a person with a passionate and intelligent vision of the world, whose sense of joy and rationality led him down unexpected and influential paths; one of which led to a Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, there is also a cautionary tale in this: that no matter how ensconced one is in the rational process, it is easy to be 'caught up'.

Mullis reference several drug-based and sober experiences which support certain beliefs of his in ESP and extraterrestrials. Now, let me for a moment state that my skepticism comes not from a disbelief, nor of a desire to disprove. Quite the opposite: the reason I am a skeptic is because I deeply wish such things to be true. It is often difficult to deal with the wanton desire to believe, especially amongst close friends and lovers; not because it seems ignorant and conflictive, but because it so closely mirrors my own desires.

However, there is another desire in me which burns hotter: a desire to move toward the truth and not to lose myself in the ease of disillusionment. Hypocrisy and belief for the sake of identity are entirely destructive and selfish acts, and despite seeming harmless, have long-reaching ramifications.

Mullis, despite his vast knowledge of the scientific method and of what must be shown and indicated, nevertheless falls into an easy comfort with coincidence and possible-self delusion without recognizing the simplicity with which the human mind may bias itself.

Then again, there is a point where one takes scientific opinion (and even knowledge) and fortifies them with a staunch sense of belief that turns science into a pointless belief. Science is what it is because of what can be proven or disproven by any of its participants, not by the odd politics and personal opinions which fence it in.

Of course, Mullis seems to have pulled in the other direction; and in his defense, he relies ever on the position of unknowing to hedge himself. However, his enthusiasm and wonder cannot but show the ease with which we may send ourselves on way or another on the barest of evidence and the vastest desire that It Be So.

Here is a lovely article on the topic: http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/journalism/NS2000.html ( )
  Terpsichoreus | Jun 9, 2009 |
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Here are the outrageous ideas and extraordinary adventures of the world's most eccentric and outspoken Nobel Prize-winning scientist. Awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1993, Kary Mullis has frequently been at odds with the scientific establishment. Legendary for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which redefined the world of DNA and genetics, Mullis is also an accomplished surfer, a veteran of Berkeley in the sixties, and perhaps the only Nobel laureate to describe a possible encounter with aliens. A scientist of boundless curiosity who refuses to accept any proposition based on secondhand or hearsay evidence, he is brilliant, funny, provocative, and charismatic. In Dancing Naked in the Mind Field Mullis writes with passion and humor about a wide range of subjects: from the scientific method to parapsychology, from poisonous spiders to the HIV virus and AIDS, from global warming to astrology, from the O. J. Simpson trial to how you can turn a light bulb on with your mind. A multidimensional playland of ideas, this book challenges us to question the authority of scientific dogma even as it reveals the workings of an uncannily original scientific mind.

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