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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Title:
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Kenneth Prewitt, Social Science Research Council Annotation pdf (122,250 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Kenneth Prewitt, Social Science Research Council
Description:
Item is handwritten. Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (122,250 Bytes)
Date:
1980-01-28 (January 28, 1980)
Creator:
Lederberg, Joshua
Recipient:
Prewitt, Kenneth
Social Science Research Council
Rights:
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Relation:
Lederberg Grouping: Correspondence E
Box Number: 36
Folder Number: 90
Unique Identifier:
BBARDR
Accession Number:
81
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Language:
English
Format:
application/pdf
image/tif
Physical Condition:
Good
Series: Correspondence, 1935-2002
SubSeries: 1978-1984
Folder: Prewitt, Kenneth
Transcript:
Ken Prewitt
[stamped, JAN 28 1980]
Biology and Social Science
Dear Ken
Your letter of Jan 11 is indeed a tall order. I feel I could more helpful attune myself to your needs in dielectic [sic] than soliloquy. Should we shoot for a quiet lunch in the next month or two?
Staggering to me is the breadth of definition of "social science"!
Yes, soon we will have to cope with the materiality of hard data on the genetic foundation of human diversity. Twin and sibling analysis is such a feeble tool . . . . . but now coming up is a comprehensive mapping of the human genome. It will be easy to sort out which grandparents' chromosomes are represented
[END PAGE ONE]
[BEGIN PAGE TWO]
in each of the F2, and muddy questions like the genes for IQ will become (all too) clear. How do you think said scientists will respond to these tools?
Perhaps because psychosomatic medicine, etc., is so well represented at the R.U. (viz. Neal Miller) I have not been too worried about the "bio-behavioral" interface in my own ambience.
More urgent, in my view, is better understanding of the process of (biological) science -- an applied sociology of science if you like. Connected issues are career patterns and modelling [sic] (incl. minorities and women). The peer review system has hardly been
[END PAGE TWO]
[BEGIN PAGE THREE]
scratched (pace Jon Cole): viz. the study section as a case in small group dynamics. And what inst'l arrangements will enhance scientific creativity? Do we socialize our grad' students for that? for what?
Every biologist today is baffled and frustrated by political processes, e.g. how the public and the Congress perceive risk. Safeguards about research have multiplied pathologically, as you well know.
Your work on aging is of course right on the button. Extension of life span is indeed the most revolutionary expected result of new biology.
Yours,
Joshua.
Metadata Last Modified Date:
2007-01-08
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Annotation by Joshua Lederberg:
KW: Biology and Social Science, response to Prewitt;
genetics and human diversity; human genome; IQ; peer review;
career structures; aging; "extension of life span is indeed
the most revolutionary expected result of new biology";

jl 1/25/00