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Experimental Heart Paperback – 21 Nov 2008

5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Press (21 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879698764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879698768
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 2.3 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 871,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer L. Rohn (1967-) was born in Stow, Ohio, received a BA in Biology summa cum laude from Oberlin College in 1990 and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1996. She moved to London for post-doctoral scientific training and then to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for a stint in a start-up biotech. She is currently runs a cell biology lab at University College London. An avid reader, Rohn had always wondered why there were so few scientist characters in mainstream literature. Coining the term 'lab lit' to describe novels with scientists as central characters, Rohn launched the website LabLit.com (http://www.lablit.com) in 2005 to help promote the use of science and scientist characters in mainstream fiction and to illuminate the world of scientists and laboratory culture. While living in Amsterdam, she wrote two novels about scientists - Experimental Heart, which was inspired by her exploits as a young cancer researcher in London and was published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York in 2008, and The Honest Look, set in a start-up biotech company in the Netherlands and published by CSHLP in 2010. In addition to her activities as a practicing scientist and novelist, Rohn is also a part-time science writer and journalist, broadcaster and sci-lit-art pundit. Her writing has appeared in places including Nature, The Guardian, and The Times, and she has also been featured on TV, radio, podcasts and as an expert in science films. She blogs about the scientific life at Mind The Gap (http://occamstypewriter.org/mindthegap/) and tweets as @jennyrohn - learn more on her website (http://jennyrohn.com).

Product Description

About the Author

Dr. Jennifer Rohn is a cell biologist at University College London and founder and editor of LabLit.com, an online magazine devoted to lab culture and fiction. She has appeared on TV, radio, podcasts, live panels, and in print as a science/lit/art/culture pundit, and writes for various publications including Nature and The Scientist. She blogs about the scientific lifestyle at Mind the Gap on Nature Network. Experimental Heart is her first novel.


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Format: Paperback
Many of us have wondered for years why the world of science rarely makes it into novels, films or TV mini-series, when much duller professions like law are apparently fair game. But even we would have doubted it was possible to make straight lab-bench science engaging for the layman. This book pulls it off. "Experimental Heart" is a sharp, pacy thriller in which the twists and turns just happen to hinge on the results of cell signalling experiments. At the same time, the characterisation offers some affectionate human portraits of the men and women behind the lab coats (with a few less well-rounded stereotypes thrown in just for fun!)

A degree of scientific literacy might save the reader a few minutes here and there, but the explanations are clear enough for any interested reader to grasp what's going on. Go ahead and try it out!
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Format: Paperback
Fortunately for me, my copy of Experimental Heart arrived just as I was leaving for the airport and, what's more, my flight for San Francisco was delayed by three hours, so I had plenty of time on my flight to read this enjoyable novel. I found the story so gripping that I read the book cover to cover in less than 24 hours. The story moves at a fast pace and the characters are believable scientists. It is many years since I worked in a laboratory and I am a chemist/crystallographer and not a molecular biologist, but I could recognise behaviour traits which would not have been out of place in my former laboratory colleagues. Intrigue, love, and science are interleaved into a story which is compelling. Publication is timely and at a stroke has solved many of my Christmas present problems - i will be buying more copies for my family and friends to read. Highly recommended!
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Jennifer Rohn is famous for promoting the idea that we need more fiction with realistic scientists in leading roles, via her website lablit.com, and other outlets including Nature. In an effort to practice what she preaches, she has written a couple of "lablit" novels herself, of which Experimental heart is the debut effort.

As the "lablit" label suggests, the lab, located in an academic research centre in London, and the science conducted there (and in a small biotech company next door) play very important parts in the novel. It's not just that the ambitions of a slightly mad scientist drive the plot, the scientific agenda also shapes the encounters of the characters, and science metaphors colour their speech and indeed the voice of the narrator.

I was wondering in the beginning why the author has chosen to slip into the skin of a male narrator, post-doc Andy O'Hara, but it soon becomes clear that he is the central atom entirely surrounded by a coordination sphere of intriguing females, including five scientists and his mother. I'm beginning to suspect that the name of the local pub where some of the events unfold, King Henry VIII., may have something to do with this bouquet of six women.

Not surprisingly, hard-working Andy is quite confused by the various attractive forces acting in this coordination sphere and it takes him 360 pages to figure it out and get all the bond lengths and angles right. In comparison, the thriller sub-plot with the mad scientist comes relatively easy to him, as he can use scientific methods and straightforward experiments to work out what is going on there.
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Format: Paperback
[ASIN:0879698764 Experimental Heart]
This book kept me gripped right to the end on all the storylines - the science research and subterfuge, the relationships between research colleagues and the romances. It was a great idea to have a detective story where the plot is revealed through scientific experiments - as indeed, that is what science is all about. The depictions of lab life are so realistic it made me want to get back into the lab myself. I recommend scientists and non-scientists alike to read Experimental Heart.
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Beautifully written and accurately rendered story of high-stakes research in a modern lab. The story cascades from the page and grips from the very beginning. Like other reviewers I found it very hard to put down and really enjoyed the adept mixing of lab-life, portrayed very realistically, and crime thriller. Highly recommended for male and female readers!
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Format: Paperback
Experimental Heart takes an old standby, the industrial thriller, and sets it convincingly in the environment of an academic London biology laboratory. The characters are carefully drawn and even more carefully researched for perfect authenticity. Anyone looking for an entertaining mystery to try to solve before the ending reveals all will enjoy this resolutely modern novel. A number of bioethical concerns are woven in to the main plot to add depth. A great book for the commute.
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Format: Paperback
A page turner set in a lab. Scientists and non-scientists alike will enjoy
this novel, which follows a science-nerd as he twists, turns, and learns
about himself through a plot that mixes a thriller with romance. The
scientific basis just adds to the fun, adding extra spice for scientists
who can recognise their favorite stereotypes, while giving novel motives and
new plotlines for all readers of thriller/detective novels.
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