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Blondes in Venetian Paintings, the Nine-Banded Armadillo, and Other Essays in Biochemistry

Nathaniel I. Berlin, MD, PhD
JAMA. 1995;274(2):182-183. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530020100042.
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This is a delightful, well-written, readable collection of essays by Konrad Bloch, a 1964 Nobel Prize laureate and professor emeritus at Harvard. The subject matter can be characterized as a mini-text of the history of biochemistry, from its earliest times to the more recent era of molecular biology, which, not surprisingly, Bloch believes is really biochemistry in its true meaning and is a term that he does not fully accept.

" '... important biochemical processes were discovered because of impure ATP

The book begins with the intriguing essay "Blondes in Venetian Renaissance Paintings," which takes off from his observation of "the abundance of blondes [women not men] in Venetian Renaissance paintings." He found that women of the time rinsed their hair in "aqua bionda," for which there were a number of recipes, then sat in the sun wearing a hat designed to expose their hair to sunlight. Bloch concludes on chemical grounds


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