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Molecular Biology of the Cell

10 recommendations

Ask HN: What resources would you recommend for studying with cell biology?

Read Molecular Biology of the Cell. It's an indispensable book for anyone studying or interested in cell biology and molecular genetics. It has been described as “the most influential cell biology textbook of its time.”

https://brucealberts.ucsf.edu/current-projects/molecular-bio...

https://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Sixth-Bruce-Alberts...

fadys, about 2 years ago

Does the world need polymaths?

Even in this day and age, you can become a "quasi-polymath" if you like learning and are efficient at it. By that I mean, reach 80% understanding of a lot of fields with 20% the effort of becoming an expert. You can do that by choosing good learning resources and focusing on conceptual understanding and fundamentals.

This is something I wish to do over time, learn about a bunch of fields to, say, about undergraduate level. Right now I'm reading Molecular Biology of the Cell (best textbook I've ever come across by the way) and it's rewarding to be able to understand much more of biology research news for example. And when you want to learn about some specific sub-topic on Wikipedia, you have the fundamentals to do that without saying "I know some of these words".

RivieraKid, about 3 years ago

Close-Up View of DNA Replication

I can also recommend an undergrad text book called "The Molecular Biology of the Cell". New editions are expensive, but second hand or older editions can be had relatively cheaply.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0815341067

rwmj, over 3 years ago

Aspirin May Prevent Cancer from Spreading, New Research Shows

um some parts are more high-level than others, but a lot would be gibberish. Familiarity with the contents of e.g "Molecular Biology of the Cell" would greatly increase your experience. -- That book is big and exhaustive (and expensive), a focused intro to the same material is MIT "Introduction To Biology" on EDx! It's an amazing course!

The book and MIT course also give a good enough conceptual intro to the chemistry concepts you need too. Obviously the rabbit hole goes deeep tho... people spend lifetimes scratching the surface.

noam87, over 3 years ago

Maths becomes biology's magic number

Not directly related to medicine, but I advise every high schooler and undergrad that I mentor to take as much math and/or computer science as they can if they are interested in biology or neuroscience (or to major in physics). There are not going to be PhD level jobs given out for graduate work that was essentially being a lab tech for 6 years, no matter how much cheap labor current professors need/want. That said, I also tell them that if they want to be successful they need to read and understand most of Molecular Biology of the Cell because it is the foundation for understanding the fundamental parts of biological systems.

hyperion2010, about 4 years ago

What Books Could Be Used to Rebuild Civilization?

As a biologist I'd put "Molecular Biology of the Cell" on the list (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21054/). This book was basically my M.Sc. exam in molecular biology. It is very rich in helpful illustrations. I'd think even someone with enough interest but no background in biology can extract a lot of information from it.

teekert, over 5 years ago

Imprudent Acts and Great Bastards: Sex Advice from 1861

You can find this authoritative ignorance of unknowns in more recent writings too. It's interesting to read a pre-1960s geology book - before continental drift was proven - and see how they explain continent formation. They'll often present some totally wrong theory without any trace of doubt. Another example is pre-1960s biology books that talk about DNA and give it a bogus role.

To be clear, I'm not criticizing these books for not having the answers, or even for being wrong. It's being confidently, authoritatively wrong that is concerning. It also makes me wonder how much of what we read now is also authoritatively wrong. (I have my suspicious about cosmology.) A counterexample is the book "Molecular Biology of the Cell", which is good about explicitly pointing out what is unknown rather than papering over it.

kens, over 5 years ago

Alan Kay's Reading List

On several occasions, Kay has mentioned Molecular Biology of the Cell as an outstanding example of how modern technology can be used to create textbooks in the aid of comprehension rather than spectacle. An example of vulgar abuse by Kay's standards would be any of the massive, technicolored tomes with names like Calculus or College Physics.

psykotic, over 6 years ago

DNA seen through the eyes of a coder

Ah, this reminds me of my childhood. No- seriously, when I was in high school almost 25 years ago I thought this way. My interest was more in the similarity between the C preprocessor and intron splicing, and even dabbled with the similarity between the ribosome and the compiler (except, the ribosome is simultaneously far simpler than a compiler, yet infinitely richer in complexity).

It's useful to have these analogies, and to some extent that really do represent true universals. In particular, in reading the history of Crick, I realized that he was a huge fan of information theory, and it helped guide his thinking about how DNA sequences are interpreted and converetd to protein sequences.

However, it can be dangerous to fall down this path. In particular, biology is hotter, wetter and messier than computing. It requires scientists to have extraordinarily flexible brains; I woudl say after many years, I think the people I met in MIT Biology are smarter than the people in MIT CS- their ability to reason over ambiguous data and come up with predictive conclusions is downright amazing.

If you're a computer person who wants to learn more about this, I have a couple suggestions: 1) buy Molecular Biology of the Cell 2) read the whole goddamn thing, slowing down to understand every concept rather than skimming.

dekhn, almost 7 years ago

DNA seen through the eyes of a coder

Ah, this reminds me of my childhood. No- seriously, when I was in high school almost 25 years ago I thought this way. My interest was more in the similarity between the C preprocessor and intron splicing, and even dabbled with the similarity between the ribosome and the compiler (except, the ribosome is simultaneously far simpler than a compiler, yet infinitely richer in complexity).

It's useful to have these analogies, and to some extent that really do represent true universals. In particular, in reading the history of Crick, I realized that he was a huge fan of information theory, and it helped guide his thinking about how DNA sequences are interpreted and converetd to protein sequences.

However, it can be dangerous to fall down this path. In particular, biology is hotter, wetter and messier than computing. It requires scientists to have extraordinarily flexible brains; I woudl say after many years, I think the people I met in MIT Biology are smarter than the people in MIT CS- their ability to reason over ambiguous data and come up with predictive conclusions is downright amazing.

If you're a computer person who wants to learn more about this, I have a couple suggestions: 1) buy Molecular Biology of the Cell 2) read the whole goddamn thing, slowing down to understand every concept rather than skimming.

dekhn, almost 7 years ago

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