Horace Freeland Judson

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Horace Freeland Judson
Born(1931-04-21)21 April 1931
Manhattan, New York, United States
Died6 May 2011(2011-05-06) (aged 80)
Known for

Horace Freeland Judson (21 April 1931 in Manhattan, New York – 6 May 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland)[3][4] was a historian of molecular biology and the author of several books, including The Eighth Day of Creation, a history of molecular biology, and The Great Betrayal: Fraud In Science, an examination of the deliberate manipulation of scientific data.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

Life and career[edit]

Horace Freeland Judson was born on 21 April 1931, in Manhattan, New York. He contracted polio at the age of 13, and the disease left him with a withered right arm.[4] Judson matriculated at the University of Chicago at age 15 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1948,[23] and worked for seven years for Time magazine as a European correspondent in London and Paris. He subsequently wrote for The New Yorker, Harper's, and Nature among others. Judson spent nine years on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University and then four years as a research scholar at Stanford University. He was the director of the now defunct Center for History of Recent Science and Research Professor of History at George Washington University. In 1987 Judson was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.[24]

The Eighth Day of Creation arose out of Judson's acquaintance with Max Perutz; In 1968 came the idea of a book about the discovery of the structures of cellular macromolecules. Following a discussion with Jacques Monod in 1969, Judson expanded his planned book to a general history of molecular biology. The result is based on interviews of over 100 scientists, cross-checked and re-interviewed over a period of seven years.[25] The book was partially serialized in three issues of The New Yorker in November and December 1978. Following the publication of the book, Judson deposited the tapes and transcripts of the interviews at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[26]

He appears in Dont Look Back, D. A. Pennebaker's documentary film about Bob Dylan, in which he is subjected to what he believed to be a contrived tirade of abuse from Dylan. During Judson's interview, Dylan launches into a verbal attack on Time magazine, and Judson himself. The film's producer Pennebaker does not believe the tirade was planned, but notes that Dylan backed off, not wanting to come across as being too cruel. However, Judson believed the confrontation was contrived to make the sequence more entertaining. "That evening", said Judson, "I went to the concert. My opinion then and now was that the music was unpleasant, the lyrics inflated, and Dylan, a self-indulgent whining show off".[27]

Personal life[edit]

Judson's first marriage ended in divorce. His second wife, Penelope Jones, died in 1993.[4] Horace Freeland Judson's oldest daughter, Grace Judson,[28] is a small-business coach and writer in San Diego. After her successful 25-year corporate career, she won the title of Fastest Knitter in America in 2002, appearing on Good Morning America in October of that year. His younger daughter, Olivia Judson, is a science journalist and currently a research fellow as an evolutionary biologist at Imperial College London and is the author of the best-selling Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation. His younger son, Nicholas Judson,[29] was a scientist at the J. Craig Venter Institute (Rockville, MD), but left science to pursue a new career as a self-employed artist. Judson was an atheist.[30]


  1. ^ The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology (1979). Touchstone Books, ISBN 0-671-22540-5. 2nd edition: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1996 paperback: ISBN 0-87969-478-5.
  2. ^ The Great Betrayal: Fraud in Science (2004). Harcourt, ISBN 0-15-100877-9
  3. ^ Ptashne, M. (2011). "Horace Judson (1931–2011)". PLOS Biology. 9 (7): e1001104. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001104. PMC 3134443.
  4. ^ a b c Grimes, William (10 May 2011). "Horace Freeland Judson, Science Historian, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  5. ^ Judson, H. F. (2006). "The theorist". Nature. 443 (7114): 917–918. Bibcode:2006Natur.443..917J. doi:10.1038/443917a.
  6. ^ Judson, H. F. (2004). "First among Equals — Francis Crick". New England Journal of Medicine. 351 (9): 858. doi:10.1056/NEJMp048233. PMID 15329422.
  7. ^ Judson, H. F. (2003). ""The Greatest Surprise for Everyone" — Notes on the 50th Anniversary of the Double Helix". New England Journal of Medicine. 348 (17): 1712–1714. doi:10.1056/NEJMon035356. PMID 12711749.
  8. ^ Judson, H. F. (2001). "Talking about the genome". Nature. 409 (6822): 769. Bibcode:2001Natur.409..769J. doi:10.1038/35057406. PMID 11236976. S2CID 4766658.
  9. ^ Judson, H. (1995). "The world we have lost". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 758 (1): 427–440. Bibcode:1995NYASA.758..427J. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1995.tb24847.x. PMID 7625708. S2CID 36632778.
  10. ^ Judson, H. (1994). "Structural transformations of the sciences and the end of peer review". JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 272 (2): 92–94. doi:10.1001/jama.272.2.92. PMID 8015139.
  11. ^ Judson, H. (1993). "Frederick Sanger, Erwin Chargaff, and the metamorphosis of specificity". Gene. 135 (1–2): 19–23. doi:10.1016/0378-1119(93)90043-3. PMID 8276259.
  12. ^ Judson, H.; MacKay, I. (1992). "History in the Bay of Naples". Immunology Today. 13 (11): 459–461. doi:10.1016/0167-5699(92)90076-j. PMID 1362059.
  13. ^ Judson, H. (1983). "Thumbprints in our clay: Unraveling the controversy over genetic engineering". New Republic. Vol. 189 no. 12–13. pp. 12–17. PMID 11651757.
  14. ^ Judson, H. (1980). "Reflections on the historiography of molecular biology". Minerva. 18 (3): 369–421. doi:10.1007/bf01096950. PMID 11610977. S2CID 46542692.
  15. ^ Judson, H. (1975). "Fearful of science: Who shall watch the scientists?". Harper's. 250 (1501): 70–72+. PMID 11661234.
  16. ^ Judson, H. (1975). "Fearful of science: After Copernicus, after Darwin, after Freud comes molecular biology. Is nothing sacred?". Harper's. 250 (1498): 32+. PMID 11664517.
  17. ^ "The Great Betrayal: A Book Review", 24 January 2005.
  18. ^ Judson, Horace Freeland (14 November 2006). "The Glimmering Promise of Gene Therapy". Technology Review.
  19. ^ His daughter reminisces as she clears out his house: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/category/the-task/
  20. ^ Heroin Addiction: What Americans Can Learn from the English Experience (1975). Vintage Books, ISBN 0-394-72017-2
  21. ^ The Search for Solutions (1982). Holt Rinehart & Winston, ISBN 0-03-043771-7
  22. ^ Science in Crisis at the Millennium (1999). New York Academy of Sciences, ISBN 1-57331-106-5
  23. ^ American Philosophical Society Archived 5 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Talking about the Genome Project". Centennial Lecture by H.F. Judson. Rockefeller University. 17 April 2000. Archived from the original on 1 December 2005. Retrieved 28 November 2006.
  25. ^ Judson, H. F. The Eighth Day of Creation (1979), p. 10–11
  26. ^ "Horace Freeland Judson Collection (1968–78)". American Philosophical Society. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
  27. ^ Sounes, Howard (2001). Down the Highway, The Life of Bob Dylan. Doubleday. ISBN 0-552-99929-6.
  28. ^ Grace Judson
  29. ^ Nicholas Judson
  30. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/may/25/horace-freeland-judson-obituary