Study Guide: The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton - BookNotes|
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THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN: STUDY GUIDE / BOOK SUMMARY
Dr. Charles Burton
A fifty-four year old pathologist and professor at Baylor medical school. He made his reputation working on various strains of the staphylococcus virus before eventually being brought on to the project. Burton has a brilliant mind, but is rather lackluster as a physical specimen. Stone is constantly annoyed with his sloppy and unkempt appearance. While working in the pathology lab he makes a series of critical mistakes, which delay the discovery of Andromedaís nature.
Dr. Peter Leavitt
A clinical microbiologist trained to treat infectious disease. He has seen enough plagues and epidemics to know the importance of quick action. Leavitt recruited Hall to the project in 1966, while they were working at the same hospital - Leavitt was the Chief of Bacteriology. Although Stone has the most confidence in him, Leavitt ultimately proves the most unreliable of the team members. He fails to disclose his history of epileptic seizures brought on by flashing lights. During the climax of the novel, when the bacterium is spreading throughout the Wildfire facility, Leavitt is incapacitated by seizures and spends the remainder of the novel in the infirmary.
Major Mancek is the army officer in charge of recovering the "Scoop" satellite. He makes the decision to call in the wildfire team to the Flat Rock facility in Nevada. Mancek has the ability to think clearly in a crisis, which is why heís in charge of this operation. He also gets called to investigate the crash of a Phantom jet that goes off course and flies through Piedmont airspace. Even though he oversees the Wildfire project he has no direct contact with the four scientists in Nevada.
The old man from Piedmont, that seems so mysterious at first, turns out to be the key to unlocking the Andromeda mystery. Stone and Burton transport Jackson as only one of two survivors to the Wildfire facility where Hall studies him overall the next few days. Jackson has a chronic bleeding ulcer, which he treats by downing a bottle of aspirin a day and following it up with Sterno. This makes his blood extremely acidic and helps him survive through the Andromeda Strain contamination. Jackson helps identify the baby survivor and recounts what happened in Piedmont on the night the satellite landed.
The Head of the Presidentís Science Advisory committee in Houston. Robertson serves as a liaison between the White House and the scientists working on Project Wildfire. Stone blames the Presidentís initial refusal to drop a bomb on Piedmont on Robertson, saying that heís not doing his job. When the telex printer malfunctions, Robertson is their only link to the outside world. He informs the Wildfire team about the Phantom crash in Utah.
An Arizona highway patrolman who happens to drive through Piedmont as the bacteria is spreading. Because of his diabetes, his blood was too acidic to coagulate completely, and so Andromeda started to eat away at his brain tissue. Willis went insane and shot several customers at a highway diner before turning the gun on himself.
The medical officer for the Arizona highway patrol west of Flagstaff. Dr. Hall calls him to get Officer Willisí medical history and whereabouts on the night the satellite landed in Piedmont. After their conversation, Hall has him arrested by military authorities on order to prevent the spread of rumors concerning Piedmont.
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