Further reading: Classic papers


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   Molecular Biology (German)

Other sources of Further reading at this web site

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Reading some of the classic papers in a field can be a fun way to explore history -- and to discover the different style of scientific papers long ago. Studying such papers is probably an inefficient way to learn the basics, but it can be a good supplement when you are so inclined.

This page lists sources of "classic papers", in both chemistry and molecular biology. Some are sources on the Internet, some are notes about printed collections. Many of these items are listed on other pages. I will probably add new ones mainly to this page.

There is no particular order to the items within a section.

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The Classic Chemistry site, from Carmen Giunta at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY. Many classic papers -- and a Glossary of Archaic Chemical Terms. https://web.lemoyne.edu/~giunta/

The ChemTeam site includes a section of "Classic papers", dating back to 50 BC. https://chemteam.info/ChemTeamIndex.html.

The two sites listed above are also included in the section of my Internet resources: Chemistry - Miscellaneous page on History.

Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers. The lab notebooks, and other historical materials, of Linus Pauling (and his wife) are available from Oregon State University, where Pauling did his undergraduate work: http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/coll/pauling/index.html.

Among the materials there are videos of three lectures by Pauling, on Valence and Molecular Structure, 1957. http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/coll/pauling/bond/video/1957v.1.html. The videos are part of the feature section Linus Pauling and the Nature of the Chemical Bond: A Documentary History.

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Molecular Biology

Classic papers in genetics [350 BC (Aristotle) to 1965]: http://www.esp.org/. Scroll down to "Classical genetics". There are also some books, including complete copies of some of Darwin's books (among others).

MendelWeb focuses on Mendel's original paper (German and English versions available), with extensive related resources. Includes a glossary, homework problems, and a place for your comments. http://www.mendelweb.org/

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. http://darwin-online.org.uk/. From Cambridge Univ.

"Charles Darwin's Library is a digital edition and virtual reconstruction of the surviving books owned by Charles Darwin. ... It also provides full transcriptions of his annotations and marks. In this first release (2011) we provide 330 of the 1480 titles in his library, concentrating on the most heavily annotated books." https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/collection/darwinlibrary. From the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

The four sites listed above are also included in the section of my Internet - Molecular Biology page for Chapter 1.

"Wallace Online is the first complete edition of the writings of naturalist and co-founder of the theory of evolution Alfred Russel Wallace." It also includes a comprehensive collection of Wallace's specimens. http://wallace-online.org/. From John van Wyhe and Kees Rookmaaker, National University of Singapore.

Classic Phage Papers. https://sites.evergreen.edu/phagelab/resources/classic-readings/. From Betty Kutter, Evergreen State College.

Profiles in Science, at the National Library of Medicine, featuring the papers of great 20th century scientists. The first scientist featured here was Oswald Avery, who was the first to show that DNA is the chemical of heredity. The second was Joshua Lederberg, who made pioneering discoveries in bacterial genetics. Individuals are honored for work in Biomedical Research, Health & Medicine, and Fostering Science & Health. The complete set of profiles of individuals (as of August 2018, in alphabetical order)...
* Christian B Anfinsen, Virginia Apgar, Oswald T Avery, Julius Axelrod, Paul Berg, Francis Crick, Michael E DeBakey, Clarence Dennis, John E. Fogarty, Rosalind Franklin, Donald S Fredrickson, Edward D Freis, Mike Gorman, Alan Gregg, Michael Heidelberger, Adrian Kantrowitz, C Everett Koop, Arthur Kornberg, Mary Lasker, Joshua Lederberg, Salvador E Luria, Barbara McClintock, Victor A. McKusick, Daniel Nathans, Marshall W Nirenberg, William Osler, Linus Pauling, Martin Rodbell, Florence R Sabin, Wilbur A Sawyer, Maxine Singer, Louis Sokoloff, Fred L Soper, Sol Spiegelman, Henry Swan, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Harold Varmus.
More are added from time to time, and existing Profiles are updated; click on their "What's new" for recent changes. https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/. (This site is also included in the section of my Internet - Molecular Biology page for Chapter 2: DNA.)

Books. It used to be common to publish compilations of classic papers. The books contain papers, either complete or abridged, usually with commentary. Here are some that I have, all of which are available in the UCB library. Some may have a more recent edition than the one I list. (Sometimes you see books such as these in used book stores, or book exchanges, such as that at the El Cerrito recycling center.)
* T Brock, Milestones in Microbiology. 1961.
* W K Joklik, Microbiology: A Centenary Perspective. 1999.
* J A Peters, Classic Papers in Genetics. 1959.
* G S Stent, Papers on Bacterial Viruses. 1960.
* J H Taylor, Selected Papers on Molecular Genetics. 1965.

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JStor. https://www.jstor.org/. An interesting collection of journals. It is not specifically for science, but very broad. The science journals they have tend to be those with multidisciplinary coverage, such as Science and PNAS. However, they also have done some focused projects, such as ecology journals. What makes JStor particularly interesting is that some of their collections include very extensive back files. For example, their collections of Science and PNAS go back to Vol 1 -- over 100 years in the case of Science. Their collection of journals from the Royal Society of London goes back to the mid 17th century. JStor requires a subscription for full access, but most major universities in the US, and many throughout the world, do subscribe, so it is worth a try and worth looking around. (This site is also included in the section of my Library Matters page for More sources of journals online.)

A student in England, upon learning of JStor, wrote me:

Interesting site! Found papers by Thomson, Rutherford, Watson/Crick, etc., and Josephson's Nobel lecture (in Science). Fascinating -- I could waste hours on here!

(He also managed to uncover some papers by Robert Bruner through JStor.)

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Other sources of Further reading at this web site (other than this page)

* Chapter handouts for    Chemistry (Intro, General)    Chemistry (Organic, biochemistry)    Molecular biology
* Materials posted under Biotechnology in the News. BITN
* A page focusing on articles with a medical emphasis; this page relates most directly to the Lipids and Metabolism sections of the Organic/Biochem course, but is becoming more general. Further reading: medical topics
* A page of older articles, which used to be in chapter handouts -- still of some interest, but older than I prefer for current handouts. Old articles

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List of pages of Internet resources

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Last update: November 29, 2021