Thursday, January 6, 2011

Free Book

I have a separate blog for a different class and there are rather few occasions where I post the same thing to both blogs but I think this one is worthy. If you are on campus today or tomorrow go the the library and pick up your free book for the UCSBReads program - right inside the main entrance. There are three people there at the moment handing them out, big piles of books and no-one taking them.

The book is called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Lots of more information here:

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