Book Reviews

Advice for a Young Investigator

By Santiago Ramon y Cajal, reviewed by Rachel Gump

ISBN 978-0262681506

Originally published 1987, New edition 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, USA

This book does exactly what the title implies. Cajal has written this book as a way of passing on information to anybody looking to not only begin a career in research, but to make a lasting impact on the investigative community. It is written as a wonderful juxtaposition of humour and sarcasm in contrast to the seriousness that Cajal took the decision of a career in the lab. For Cajal, this was not a job, but a passion, and within this book it is made clear that he wanted his advice to go to those who were just as passionate as he was. Furthermore, the book contains sections acknowledge the stereotypes of researchers, the ‘mad scientists’ of the world. However, he does not highlight them and allow the stereotypes to flourish; he breaks them down by describing the vast population that are research scientists. Finally, this book outlines some of the foundations for anyone who wants to continue their research, not just begin. He puts forward the notion of rigorous testing and the stringent use of the scientific method, which compliments his passion by showing that time, for Cajal, did not matter as much as valid results. Although some may see this as an over the top approach, reading this work by Cajal certainly allows insight into a mind that changed the course of neuroscience, and the sacrifices he made to investigate his passion.

Bioethics An Anthology Third Edition

Edited by Helga Kuhse, Udo Schuklenk, and Peter Singer reviewed by Rachel Gump

ISBN 978-1-118-94152-2; Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester

About This Book:

Initially, I bought this book as a supplementary textbook to my course, but I soon realised that it was so much more than a textbook. The layout of the book allows for ease of comparison of cases presented. Immense detail in the cases opens the opportunity for discussion, and one does not have to be particularly versed in biomedicine to get a full experience from reading this book. It offers several viewpoints on each case, and therefore gives the reader a more holistic perspective on issues surrounding medical research and treatment. By using case studies, the reader can get fully immersed into not just quantitative data, but real life experiences and outcome for the patients involved. Additionally, it outlines the ways of which the problems were resolved, and adds another layer of debate for readers as to whether or not it was the ‘right’ decision. ALtogether, this book allows for the experience of ethics in a format that affords the reader a full understanding of the issue in an immersive way. Its layout also provides for the reader to read one case at a time, and therefore does not need to be read as a traditional book, but can be used for specific cases only. 

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