I just noticed (May 29, 2008) that Amazon is promoting my book, Ruby Programming for Medicine and Biology, with a pretty good deal (15% off) today, and that's with free shipping. I can never figure how Amazon selects its promotions. My other books, also available at Amazon, are currently being sold at 0% off. So go figure.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you've read some of my prior essays about the Ruby Programming Language. My book teaches Ruby, but it is not exclusively focused on the Ruby Language (there are many excellent Ruby language books available to programmers). My book is mostly about the tasks that confront students and professionals in the biomedical fields... and how you can use Ruby to solve those tasks. So in the book chapters, I may spend more words describing the biomedical tasks (which can be hard to understand) and many fewer words on the Ruby scripts (which are usually quite short).
The basic theme in my books is that if all biomedical workers knew how to program, they would gain some independence (from application vendors), and become more creative.
Once you start using Ruby, you may find that you can integrate your knowledge of medicine and biology with your knowledge of programming, to solve a wide range of new and interesting problems.
I recommend either Perl, Python, or Ruby as excellent languages for anyone in the biomedical sciences. I wouldn't claim that these are the best languages for programmers, in general. But they are superb languages for biomedical non-programmers; people whose primary interest lies in biology or medicine and who use programming as a creative tool to discover and solve new questions in their fields. These languages are easy to learn, and each has an active community that contributes open source libraries and modules to the language.
- Jules J. Berman