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By: Carl McDaniel

Beauty Won Me Over

Pages: 172 Ratings:
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Few people know any scientist(s) or what scientists do. Beauty Won Me Over: A Scientist’s Life is a deep dive into the life of Carl McDaniel, a developmental biologist. He became an academic scientist because his best friend in college recognised the scientist in him even before he himself did. Being severely cross-eyed and blind at birth meant he had no depth perception. Running became his sport and the ‘race’ a metaphor for existence. Running taught him that the real essence of living life well and to its fullest was giving body and soul to all one does. Working as a postdoctoral fellow in Ian Sussex’s lab at Yale University, he chanced upon the observation that Nicotiana tabacum plants counted nodes (the location of a leaf) as the means for deciding when to flower. Twenty-five years of research elucidated the fundamental elements of this process. Beyond doing science, academic scientists teach, provide service to the scientific community and the general public, as well as bring their perspectives of science to them.

Carl McDaniel is a visiting professor at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and a professor emeritus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He was the founding director of the undergraduate environmental science degree program at Rensselaer. For the first three decades of his academic career, he researched insect and plant development. His scholarly interests since have been focused on the interface between biology and economics. He has written four books: Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature (2000, with economist John M. Gowdy); Wisdom for a Livable Planet: The Visionary Work of Terri Swearingen, Dave Foreman, Wes Jackson, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Werner Fornos, Herman Daly, Stephen Schneider, and David Orr (2005); Trail Magic: Creating a Positive Energy Home (2012) and At the Mercy of Nature: Shackleton’s Endurance Saga Gives Promise for Our Future (2014, with illustrations by Donald Watson).

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