Walter Isaacson’s #1 New York Times bestselling history of our third scientific revolution: CRISPR, gene editing, and the quest to understand the code of life itself, is now adapted for young readers!When Jennifer Doudna was a sixth grader in Hilo, Hawaii, she came home from school one afternoon and found a book on her bed. It was The Double Helix, James Watson’s account of how he and Francis Crick had discovered the structure of DNA, the spiral-staircase molecule that carries the genetic instruction code for all forms of life. This book guided Jennifer Doudna to focus her studies not on DNA, but on what seemed to take a backseat in biochemistry: figuring out the structure of RNA, a closely related molecule that enables the genetic instructions coded in DNA to express themselves. Doudna became an expert in determining the shapes and structures of these RNA molecules—an expertise that led her to develop a revolutionary new technique that could edit human genes. Today gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR are already being used to eliminate simple genetic defects that cause disorders such as Tay-Sachs and sickle cell anemia. For now, however, Jennifer and her team are being deployed against our most immediate threat—the coronavirus—and you have just been given a front row seat to that war.
Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of Time Magazine. In 2011 he wrote a biography titled “Steve Jobs”, which was based off on over forty interviews with Jobs over a two-year period up until shortly before his death. It became an international best-seller, breaking all records for sales of a biography.
Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at “The Sunday Times” of London and then the New Orleans “Times-Picayune”. He joined “Times” in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of digital media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.
Along with “Steve Jobs”, Isaacson has published several other books, including: “Einstein: His Life and Universe” (2007), “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” (2003) and Kissinger: A Biography” (1992), as well as coauthor of “The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made” (1986). His most recent book, “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” (2014) is a biographical tale of the people who invented the computer, Internet and the other great innovations of the digital age. It became a New York Times bestseller.
Isaacson has been awarded many accolades of the years, including in 2012, when he was selected as one of the Time 100, the magazine’s list of the most influential people in the world.