Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Backstage: Siddhartha Mukherjee

November 18, 2010

Viewing videos on requires Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher.

Get the Flash plugin from


Copy the embed code below to add this video to your site, blog, or profile.

Siddhartha Mukherjee in conversation with Nicholas Wade.


From the origins of cancer on the scrolls of ancient Egyptian medical records to the epic modern battles to conquer it, Siddhartha Mukherjee, a leading cancer physician and researcher, brings the history of cancer to wild and terrifying life.

Mukherjee provides a window in to key figures such as Sidney Farber, the father of modern chemotherapy, holed up in the cellar of a Boston hospital and characterized by a colleague as a "cancer maniac," and William Halsted, bewhiskered, obsessive, and addicted to cocaine, who created and perfected the radical and super-radical surgeries that would become the norm in cases of breast cancer.

Ten years in the making, Siddhartha Mukherjee's THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES: A Biography of Cancer is a "biography" of this shape-shifting and formidable disease that has plagued and riddled humanity since the beginning of civilization.


is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician at the CU/NYU Presbyterian Hospital. A Rhodes Scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School and was a Fellow at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Neuron, Journal of Clinical Investigation, The New York Times, and The New Republic.


is a British-born scientific reporter, editor, and author who currently writes for the Science Times section of The New York Times. His book Before the Dawn received a 2007 Science-in-Society Journalism Award. Wade worked for Nature, a weekly scientific magazine based in London, from 1967 to 1971, becoming deputy editor and Washington correspondent. In 1971 he joined the news staff of Science, a weekly scientific journal published in Washington, and in 1982 became a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, writing editorials on science, health, the environment and military technology. He was science editor of The New York Times from 1990 to 1996, and has been a science reporter at the Times since 1997. Wade is the author of several books, including The Ultimate Experiment, The Nobel Duel, Betrayers of the Truth (written with William J. Broad), A World Beyond Healing, Lifescript, and Before the Dawn.