The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution

Norton. May 2019. 256p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780393634747. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393634754. SCI
Hockfield (emerita, neuroscience, Massachusetts Inst. of Technology; coauthor, Molecular Probes of the Nervous System) explores the ongoing dynamic research at the intersection of engineering and life sciences. These disparate fields of study are coming together globally, especially regarding the application of technology to solve “some of the most intractable” problems. Hockfield is well known for being one of the few scientists to serve as president of MIT, as well as the first woman to do so, and she refers to her own career path throughout. This conversational, almost autobiographical work makes for an accessible read. Almost all the researchers highlighted throughout either currently or previously worked at MIT. Hockfield’s coverage of physicist and later MIT president (1930-48) Karl Compton is particularly interesting; he is seldom discussed today but was a pioneer in reconsidering our ideas about the convergence of engineering and biology.
VERDICT Hockfield’s latest effectively examines some of the exciting research at the convergence of engineering and biology, from living batteries to cancer-fighting nanoparticles, and more. The accessible writing style should have wide appeal to readers of popular science.

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