Biographers naturally turn to their subjects for first-hand accounts of their life and work. The two biographical subjects I have addressed, Dorothy Hodgkin and Max Perutz, were almost exact contemporaries who worked in the same field, the X-ray crystallography of biological molecules. But their approaches to managing the narrative of their life and work were very different. Using these two examples, I reflect on the challenges facing the biographer as she attempts to produce a rounded picture of an individual scientist.
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