If you doubt that the life of a molecular biologist and geneticist can make for delightful reading, then you have not yet seen “Sydney Brenner: a Biography” by Dr. Errol C. Friedberg from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Friedberg, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, explains how Brenner, honored with the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was born in 1927 into a South African Jewish family of Latvian/Lithuanian origin. Brenner’s small hometown, Germiston, once had a thriving Jewish community, now dispersed. As Brenner recalled his school days:
I suppose that my sense of humor came from the gestalt of being a member of a Jewish family. I’ve always thought that whereas most people’s lives consist of drama on one hand and comedy on the other, for Jews life consists primarily of melodrama and farce. Everything is exaggerated!