Biography of Nobel Prize-winning biochemist to S&S

Biography of Nobel Prize-winning biochemist to S&S

Simon & Schuster will publish biographer Walter Isaacson’s latest book, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race, next spring.

The Code Breaker explores the work of biochemist Jennifer Doudna, who in 2012 created an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. The synopsis reads: "The book provides a gripping account of how Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution with CRISPR technology that will help us cure diseases, fend off viruses and have healthier babies. 

"Isaacson examines what this brave new world of medical miracles means for humanity, alongside the moral questions that surround hacking our own DNA and democratising the technology that would enable parents to 'enhance' their children. On the back of her discoveries, Doudna is now wrestling these even bigger issues."

In 2020, Doudna was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Her work also paved the way for the development of the Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines.

Isaacson said: “I began this journey thinking that biotechnology was the next great scientific revolution, a subject that was filled with awe-inspiring natural wonders, research rivalries, thrilling discoveries, lifesaving triumphs and creative pioneers such as Jennifer Doudna. The Year of the Plague, during which I participated in the clinical trial that produced the first Covid vaccine, made me realise that I was understating the case.”

Isaacson is a professor of history at Tulane who has been c.e.o. of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the co-author of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He is represented by Amanda Urban of ICM.

Commenting on the acquisition, publishing director Holly Harris said: “Walter Isaacson is one of the very best authors of non-fiction working today. An unparalleled biographer, in Jennifer Doudna he has a fascinating subject. Much like his previous examinations of figures such as da Vinci or Steve Jobs, he expertly explores how one person’s work will be instrumental in changing how we live and think. All of us at S&S UK are thrilled to be publishing this brilliant book.”

The biography is set for release on 9th March 2021, and it will be a global S&S publication.