Rita Levi Montalcini

Praise of Imperfection New Edition Translated from the Italian by Francesca Isidori. Publication date : March 1, 1998

Rita Levi Montalcini's life has been entirely dedicated to scientific research. She grew up in a tightly knit Jewish family and studied medicine in Turin. Forced into inactivity by the racist laws of Fascist Italy, she set up a makeshift laboratory in her bedroom and began studying the development of the nervous system. Her research, which she completed in the United States after the war, led to the discovery of the nerve growth factor whose role is to stimulate the growth of nerve fibres. This finding represented a major step forward in the field of biology. Her autobiography, written with warmth and simplicity, is further enhanced by a previously unpublished postscript in which Montalcini describes her discovery and lists numerous applications, brought to light by recent research, in the areas of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, as well as stress. Rita Levi Montalcini was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. She is the author of Ton Avenir (1995) and Contre Vents et Marées (1998), published by Editions Odile Jacob.