Passing of Horace F. Judson, author of “The Eighth Day of Creation”

Horace F. Judson, author of The Eighth Day of Creation, one finest and most engrossing books about science in my collection, died May 6, 2011. You can read the NY Times obituary here.

The Eighth Day of Creation is nominally about molecular biology—the discovery of the structure of DNA and other breakthroughs—but it’s a brilliantly researched, compelling drama, almost a mystery novel, replete with fascinating characters, including the too-often overlooked Rosalind Franklin. It shares those qualities with a contemporaneous masterpiece, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes.

Judson wrote other important books about science, including The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science.

If you’re interested in how science works at the highest levels, about real scientific controversies and how they’re resolved, and most importantly, about the deepest mysteries in nature and the fascinating characters who try to understand them, read Judson and Rhodes.