Kendall A. Smith is a renowned Immunologist who is writing his memoirs about his scientific experiences and discoveries. The book will be titled: “MASTERING THE ART OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY: The Immune System” .
ABOUT THE BOOK
Science is a vertical learning process. Learning science is akin to learning a new language, and until one learns the definitions of all of the new words, it is impossible to make sense of it. How in the world then, is one ever to be able to understand a particular aspect of science, such as immunology, unless one begins at the beginning and acquires years of learning? This book explains one of the most complex scientific fields through the eyes of the author as he grew up in the profession, learning the languages of medicine and science. Immunology has become understandable only in the past thirty years, even to the immunologists themselves. Thus, most physicians practicing today find immunology and disorders of the immune system beyond their comprehension because they had no immunology courses in medical school, and they never acquired the vocabulary. By comparison, immunology has taken on an ever more important role in the lives of everyone, as antibiotic treatment markedly reduced the morbidity and mortality of infectious diseases. Because of the explosion of knowledge of the immune system, organ transplantation has become commonplace and life-saving for a multitude of individuals. In addition, with the introduction of HIV, everyone now knows the catastrophic effects of AIDS, when the immune system fails. Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and diabetes, to name just a few, are becoming much more commonplace. Inflammation is now considered the root cause of coronary artery disease, as well as many cancers. The immune system has been selected for throughout the evolution of vertebrates to be able to discriminate between everything in our environment, to which it reacts and rejects, vs. everything in our bodies, which it ignores and accepts. Accordingly, the intriguing question is how can this be possible? Therein lies the fascination that drives immunologists. This book traces the evolution of understanding of the author from a neophyte to one of the most learned and accomplished physician-scientists of our time, and it explains where he came from and how he got here. In the end, all of us are products of our parentage and our upbringing, and our knowledge results from our total accumulation of our experiences. By tracing his own personal evolution, and illustrating it with the actual crucial experiments illustrated by the data published in scientific journals, Dr. Smith makes the acquisition of the knowledge of the molecular workings of the immune system transparent to all for the first time. This book traces the discovery of the interleukin-2 (IL-2) molecule, and how it became realized that it is the first hormone of the immune system, and the critical experiments that established it as one of the master regulators of the immune response. It emphasizes and describes the key individuals along the way who contributed to the critical steps as they accumulated. Consequently, the science comes alive and is no longer an arcane subject, known only to the privileged cognoscenti. The upshot is that one acquires a foundation upon which one can build an understanding of the many disorders of the immune system. In addition, the science and the scientists become humanized for the first time. This is a must read for anyone contemplating a scientific career, suffering from an immunological disorder, or trying to understand a world that has heretofore been closed to the average citizen.