The Political Scientist Essay Research Paper The — страница 3

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later won a Nobel prize. Rose hated it. As a newly married father he found college life suffocatingly misogynistic: “Hilary was doing a degree at LSE. We had two kids. I had free rooms and the possibility of free meals in New College and you could bring women in to dine on alternate Fridays in term time provided they weren’t your wife. It was gross.After a couple of years she said, ‘I’m going back to London, you can come if you like’, so I had to find a different job.” But his ambitions at work, despite discouragement, were beginning to seem more attainable. He discovered the work of a Swedish scientist, Holger Hydén, who claimed to be able to separate out single neurones from dissected rabbit brains and show chemical changes in them after the rabbits had learned

particular tasks. On this level, Rose’s work with memory looks at the fundamental ways in which any animal can learn or know anything about the world. Rose says: “In some way, when memories are made, there must be representations of what you remember in the brain. Starting as a biochemist, my approach has always been that if you’re going to make changes in the brain this is going to involve molecular processes, the synthesis of new proteins, so let me see if I can find out what these proteins are.” After Oxford, he worked at Imperial College, London, for five years. There he was introduced by Patrick Bateson, an ethologist who became a life-long friend, to the use of very young chickens as experimental animals, on which subject Rose likes to quote Hans Krebs: “God has

made the organism which is the right answer for every problem the biochemist wants to study.” The chick is ideal for researching memory and learning, partly because the things it learns are so simple; partly because they are easy to breed and easy to kill. In his prize-winning book, The Making Of Memory, Rose describes how a day’s work can involve cutting the heads off 48 chicks with a pair of scissors – how else can one get at the brains to analyse their chemistry? He is unapologetic about using animals. Animal suffering is less important than human suffering, he says, and, though it must be minimised, it cannot be avoided entirely if humans are to benefit. In 1968 he was appointed professor of biology at the Open University and has worked there ever since. It was the

first academic appointment the university made, and the day after he learned he had the job he was interviewing for his own assistants. Practically everything on the campus has been built since he arrived there: “It is the university on which the concrete never sets,” he says. Shortly afterwards, he and Hilary left the Labour party and headed in a leftward direction. “I have never joined any political organisation since,” he says carefully. They agitated against the Vietnam war and even travelled to Hanoi to examine the effects of chemical warfare on Vietnamese peasants. He appears less Marxist to himself than to his friends: certainly less so than he appears to his enemies. Richard Dawkins once dismissed a book he wrote in collaboration with the American Marxist

scientists Richard Lewontin and Leon Kamen as “Dave Spart trying to get into Pseud’s Corner”. Mary Midgley, the philosopher and a friend, attributes the breadth of Rose’s interests to Marxism, because Marxists were forced to think in large terms about society as a complicated system of inter-reacting mechanisms. “He is a good thing”, she says. “So few scientists are in a position to stand back and ask what science is doing, as he does: ignorance about the use of words in metaphor, and that they matter, is part of a scientist’s training. What’s admirable about him and Hilary is that they come from such different places and they keep educating each other.” Midgley, a notably pugnacious writer herself, pays Rose a wholly characteristic compliment: “His choice

of enemies is not too bad now.” Another friend, Lisa Appignanesi, the writer and former director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, says: “He and Hilary have intellectually fed each others’ energies. I think that Hilary as a sociologist of science probably knows more about the nitty-gritty of lab work than most critics. Steven is probably more aware of the questions that sociologists and journalist like to ask because he has her as the in-house critic.” The tradition of politically radical biology into which he was inducted at Cambridge was certainly Marxist and often Stalinist, descending though figures like JBS Haldane and JD Bernal, a great scientist who none the less wrote an obituary of Stalin which described him as “a great scientist [who combined] a