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An Arrow's Arc

An Arrow's Arc

Carl Nathan, MD

Regular price $ 15.96 USD
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308-page paperback / 5.5" x 8.5" / ISBN 9781589881853
Publication Date: 2/20/2024

"A well-rendered portrait of an intense medical life devoted to equally intense research."
Kirkus Reviews

“This is a wonderful account of a nonpareil physician-scientist and, in recent decades, a creator of drug therapies and a lifesci macher. Carl Nathan illuminates his memoir with great storytelling and deeply considered reflections (regularly summed up in pithy ‘life lessons’) on how his person and his personal journey prepared, and propelled, him. Like Carl, I am a scientist whose asthma and serial pneumonias meant swapping a lot of childhood companionship for finding out young how rewarding adventures of the mind can be. An Arrow’s Arc belongs on your bookshelf right next to Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”
—Professor K. Barry Sharpless, PhD, Scripps Research Institute, two-time winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

As a physician and renowned medical researcher, Carl Nathan has been at the forefront of discoveries in microbiology and immunology. In An Arrow’s Arc, he reflects on how his youthful experiences and passions moved him toward medicine and science, and how his five decades as a doctor and scientist have, in turn, shaped him.

As a child, Nathan struggled with severe asthma, and he saw breast cancer take his mother’s life during his senior year of college, on the very same day he was accepted to Harvard Medical School. These experiences, among others, fueled his abiding interest in medicine and his determined efforts to understand how the immune system duels with cancer and infectious diseases.

While a half-century dedicated to his patients and to biomedical research provided Dr. Nathan with a hard-won biological perspective on death’s role in life, he’s known since he was young that he could die at any time. He calls this a liberating thought, a gift, a call to action. Full of warmth and wisdom, An Arrow’s Arc is a beautiful reminder to all of us “that now is the time to love, to wonder, and to build.”

“[Nathan's] stories are vivid . . . Beneficiaries of medical science could not find a better introduction to the impulses that propel it.
—Harvard Magazine

An epic and deeply personal journey by one of the great physician-scientists of our time.”
—Charles M. Rice, PhD, Rockefeller University, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

“An extraordinary window into the life of an amazingly talented physician and wonderfully creative scientist.”
—Stanley B. Prusiner, MD, University of California, San Francisco, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

“Anyone who believes that science and the arts are two non-intersecting worlds needs to read this powerful, deeply moving autobiography of a great physician-scientist. Carl Nathan is a poet as well as a biologist, a duality that is reflected in the lyrical way he presents his life, and life’s work. It is one of the best examples I know of the often-overlooked fact that science, like art, is a form of self-expression.”
—Gregory A. Petsko, PhD, Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital, winner of the National Medal of Science

“A thought-provoking story of the intersection of science, drug discovery, medicine, and humanity. A must read for those contemplating a career in biomedical research or for those seeking insight into the research enterprise. Nathan delivers an insightful appreciation of how discovery is shaped not only by a keen and inquisitive mind but by human experience and interactions.”
—Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Scientific Affairs, Cancer Research Institute

“In this fascinating and beautifully-told autobiography, a great physician-scientist shares the story of his life. It is honest, emotional, and sometimes brutal, but his poet’s sensibility makes it an unforgettable and moving book.”
—Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, President and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

“Many of our most important medical breakthroughs are first discovered by specialized doctors known as physician-scientists, who spend years of training working in research laboratories. Carl Nathan is a world-class physician-scientist who has helped to pioneer several important treatments for infectious and inflammatory illnesses. His new book, An Arrow’s Arc, is essential reading for those wishing to understand the complexities of translational medicine, and because he gives us the human side of what it means to undertake the daunting training required to become a successful physician-scientist.”
—Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, Professor and Dean, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine

“Carl Nathan, a world-leading medical researcher, delves into the quest for inner harmony and societal contribution through rich anecdotes and invaluable lessons learned. This book is required reading for students of any age who are interested in the intersection of science and the human condition, as well as the broader betterment of humanity and the world.”
—Kevin J. Tracey, MD, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research

“An astonishing book, tracing the path of an eminent physician/scientist who is a moral, as well as scientific, force. The writing is beautiful, the structure wonderful—an impressionistic interweaving of stories and themes that mirrors the complexities of a life’s journey in its narration, building to a lovely, satisfying whole. Nathan’s bravery in self-examination paradoxically lays bare his profound humility and humaneness. Nabokov wrote, ‘Beauty plus pity—that is the closest we can get to a definition of art.’ Both are present in full measure. And more.”
— Chris Karp, MD, Director, Discovery & Translational Sciences, Global Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“A writer who makes life worth living. An Arrow's Arc is humane, original, inspiring, written with moral passion, and highly readable.”
—Siamon Gordon, Emeritus Professor of Cellular Pathology, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford

An Arrow’s Arc is a memoir that draws the reader in and continues to engage even after the last page. Carl Nathan shares his personal and professional story behind his remarkable achievements in science, medicine, complex discovery and collaborations, fueled by his love of family and humanity. A gifted writer, he shows us how even the shadows of our lives—loss, otherness and more—can be woven with inspiration, purpose and active hope.”
—Elizabeth G. Christopherson, President and CEO, Rita Allen Foundation

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Carl Nathan, MD has been chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Cornell Medicine for twenty-five years. He graduated from Harvard Medical School and trained in internal medicine and oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital, the National Cancer Institute, and Yale. He has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. An Arrow's Arc is his first book for a general audience. He lives in Larchmont, New York.
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