David Bodanis

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Prize Fight: The Race and the Rivalry to be the First in Science

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Palgrave Macmillan 262pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

It’s 1943 in Florida, and a bright young farm boy named Albert Schatz is in the US army medical corps, spending endless hours on a ward, holding the hands of soldiers dying of tuberculosis. Schatz hadn’t been allowed into any of the top universities, because they had Jewish quotas, so he was forced to make do with a degree in soil chemistry from an obscure land-grant university in New Jersey. But that was enough, after his experiences in the army hospital, to lead him to spend his free time digging in the swamps outside, searching for micro-organisms that could somehow kill the infections he saw. 

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