A Year of the EACR Science Book Club

by Laura Escudero

I always find that books are like time-travel machines, and better than any film. If you focus, they can take you back through time, to the future, or even to alternative universes.

Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I love science and I have always enjoyed reading science books. The beauty of non-fiction science books is that, for a moment, you get to be in someone else’s shoes: a scientist, a physician, a patient, a health activist… You can get a grasp of how they felt at the time of the discovery, but also during failure. Science books can help you understand how the history of science has been shaped.

How did we get to where we are today? What difficulties did others encounter? How did they feel during the eureka moment? How was their life-journey? Can we relate to them?

The idea of creating a Science Book Club in collaboration with the EACR started during lockdown. Sometimes, in difficult situations we dedicate more time to reflect on life, future projects and set up new goals. We reinvent ourselves.

The purpose of the EACR Science Book Club is to be able to share this experience with other members, to get together and discuss our thoughts and feelings. What shocked us, what surprised us, what inspired us, how it affects us today and how we can move forward.

Rebecca Skloot
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

In science books we look for the stories, and so far, some were about..:

  • The first evidence of cancer in the ancient world
  • Henrietta Lacks, the real woman behind the HeLa cell line that has contributed to some of the greatest scientific discoveries
  • The atrocities that were done in the name of science and hence why thorough patient protection and ethical regulations were established
  • The transformation of the funding for cancer research
  • The prejudices that impeded the start of the immuno-oncology field
  • Moments of serendipity in science that in combination with hard work and observation led to discoveries
  • Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who became a patient with stage IV lung cancer and battled for his life
  • Patients and the power of our emotions to motivate us and keep driving our research forward to help those who need it
Learning from other’s life-journeys through science books can inspire us, particularly in difficult moments, and it reminds us why we chose this career.

Every two months, EACR-members vote for a science book to read followed by a relaxed and engaging discussion on LinkedIn and Zoom. Reading science books can help you improve your science communication skills for the general public and they might also inspire your next creative problem-solving idea! Joining the group will help you connect with EACR members at different stages in their career all around the world, facilitating communication and potential future collaborations. Sounds good? Join us in The EACR Science Book Club!

Laura Escudero
The EACR Science Book Club. Get comfortable, dim the lights and get ready to immerse yourself in a good book. Let the story take you on a journey about science, and uncover the thoughts, emotions, inspirations and consequences behind the discoveries.
List of science books covered by the EACR Science Book Club so far:
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini
  • The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer by Charles Graeber
  • p53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code by Sue Armstrong
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Laura Escudero

About Laura:

Hello! I’m Laura, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology in Barcelona. I work in Prof. Joan Seoane’s research group primarily focusing on the clinical application of liquid biopsies for adult and paediatric patients with brain tumours. I run the EACR Science Book Club and I enjoy hiking and dancing. I look forward to meeting you in the book club!