How Life Works

In September 2015 on September 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm


Sarah: If you studied biochemistry at university, chances are you used ‘The Biochem Bible’ by authors William and Daphne Elliott. Often it was referred to quite simply as “Elliott and Elliott’.

Elliott and Elliott were quite a team, both as authors, scientists and life partners. Here is the brief precis of their achievements, as summarised by CSIRO Publishing:

William (Bill) Elliott was a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences and Head of Biochemistry at The University of Adelaide for 23 years. In 1982 his department was awarded the Australian Government’s first Centre of Excellence, for research devoted to gene technology. In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and science in molecular biosciences. At The University of Adelaide, his legacy and achievements are celebrated annually by the W.H. Elliott lecture and a research fellowship in his name.

Daphne Elliott is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal in 1994 for her contribution to the education of women in Science and Mathematics and served as Federal President of the Australian Federation of University Women. In 2002, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the promotion of women’s education and as an advocate for improving the status and human rights of women.

Bill passed away in 2012. Never one to be idle, he spent his final months and days preparing the first complete draft of a new book aimed not at the science student, but at the general public.

Thanks to the commitment of Daphne — along with her daughter, granddaughter and other family members — that work is now published. I am so very delighted to have worked with the Elliotts to craft some of the figures and tables for this book.

How Life Works: The Inside Word From a Biochemist is available via CSIRO Publishing.

In Bill’s own words:

“This book aims at explaining the fundamentals of life to readers who have no scientific training.”

“It will possibly enable non-scientific decision-makers and the general members of the public to better understand some of the important biological and medical issues that face society.”

I’d say there’s a market for that, wouldn’t you?

[image thanks to Ben Grey]


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