Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Lives of a Cell

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 08 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a720
  1. Douglas Kamerow, chief scientist, RTI International, and associate editor, BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}

    I decided to go to medical school towards the end of my college years in the United States and thus took only the absolute minimum number of premedical science courses. I worried about my lack of scientific preparation. In an attempt to remedy my deficiencies I took out a subscription to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) when I began medical school in 1974. What a disappointment. I understood virtually nothing in the august journal, and what I did understand I found uninteresting. Lewis Thomas’s Notes of a Biology Watcher column was the lone, wonderful, exception.

    Thomas had begun writing his NEJM columns in 1971. A graduate of Princeton …

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