“This memoir admirably humanizes science. Richard Ward is both a sharp researcher and a savvy storyteller. And if he can make science more accessible and exciting for our society, his contribution will not go unappreciated”— Kevin L. Nenstiel
“What may at first be an error may turn into a savior. “Dead Ends to Somewhere: The Story of a Vaccine to Save 500,000 Children Worldwide and the Reluctant Student Who Invented It” follows the discovery of an important vaccine and the man who discovered it. An inspiring story of how coming from a rough childhood and only with the spirit to succeed can turn nothing into something, Dead Ends to Somewhere is an inspiring and powerful read, not to be overlooked.” — Cowper’s Bookshelf, Midwest Book Review
“I find it amazing that a child who nearly failed out of grammar school grew up to develop a vaccine against rotavirus, which in turn has saved millions of children worldwide. Richard L. Ward’s memoir is a true example of overcoming the obstacles humans are presented with. It also strengthens the belief that humans learn from their mistakes and have the ability to change their futures. I found his writing style easy-to-read, down-to-earth, honest, and full of self-condemning wit. He represents himself as flawed, clearly just as human as the rest of us, and he keeps his ego in check. One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to self-written memoirs is when the authors act full-of-themselves. A little self-admiration is fine (as in this case), but some authors ‘go off the deep end’. I am a microbiologist, so I rather enjoy the technical jargon that more biological reads have to offer, but for this book, I found that readers of most backgrounds would be fine without a dictionary. The author’s descriptions are detailed, but not scientifically specialized like those found in most scientific papers; he has a knack for explaining his methods in layman’s terms. The whole book is enjoyable and well-written – there were a few typos, but nothing too serious. This book belongs in high school and college libraries/curricula! It is a must read for science students and I highly recommend it. I, for one, am grateful for Richard’s scientific contributions to society; because of his research, children get a chance to live.”—The Paperback Pursuer
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. The author’s sense of humor is subtle, but I found it easy to catch. Many passages like his description of his grade school transition from “tough guy” to “pacifist” are laugh out loud funny. While the book is a serious story about a journey to a great discovery, it is so well written you find yourself wanting to know where the author will land after each of his major decisions in life. — Jeff M.
“I recently completed Dead Ends to Somewhere, and enjoyed it so much. Given his rocky start in school, his discoveries and accomplishments are truly awesome and amazing and serve as an inspiration to any budding scientists who encounter dead ends, too. Parents and children owe Mr. Ward their undying gratitude for his work in discovering a vaccine for rotavirus. I highly recommend this book. The author manages to entertain and inform while explaining some very complex science in terminology that a layman can understand.”— L. Foley
“Richard Ward is completely honest in this memoir of his life. His life began in poverty on a farm in Montana, where his parents encouraged sibling competition and religious practice. Eventually, Ward’s competitive nature led him to excel in sports and academics. His parents showed little love to their children and plenty of criticism. Ward pursued organized religion with mixed success, eventually being alienated by the inflexibility and insensitivity of his church. He found his career in biochemistry and pursued his goal of combating virus infections through vaccination. With an excellent team, Ward successfully developed and licensed a very effective rotavirus vaccine, which has been distributed to millions of children around the world. Ward has combined wit and a frank appraisal of himself and his family to produce a very readable book.”— G. Ganong
Richard Ward was raised in Bozeman, Montana, where he graduated from Montana State College. He received a PhD degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley and became a member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. He served as a Virology Section Chief at the Environmental Protection Agency in Cincinnati, and later joined the Gamble Institute of Medical Research in Cincinnati where he eventually became the Director of Clinical Virology. He joined Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as a Professor of Pediatrics. He is the author of nearly 200 scientific publications on viral biology and immunology.