Science Studies

Download A Short History of Biology by Isaac Asimov PDF

By Isaac Asimov

In four hundred B.C., while Hippocrates wrote a booklet claiming that epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” used to be a typical disease and never a visitation of demons, the technological know-how if biology could be acknowledged to have started. due to the fact that then, curious naturalists have studied animals and plans, medical professionals hae sought solutions to very functional questions. The technology of biology has grown—slowly before everything, preventing and beginning back, and development within the final century to a crescendo that has no longer but reached its peak.

This concise, authoritative e-book lines the fascinating improvement of the technological know-how of existence, from the traditional Greeks in the course of the enormous fulfillment of Charles Darwin to the explosive development of molecular biology that's leading to today’s nice breakthroughs in genetics and medication. Written by means of Isaac Asimov, affiliate Professor of Biochemistry at Boston college and writer of diverse books on technology, this can be a hugely readable, brilliant advent to the background and ideas of biology.

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Sample text

Protozoa were themselves no larger than and were extremely simform by spontaneous generation. The argument seemed upheld by the fact that if nutritive extracts containing no protozoa were alflies' eggs, if as large, ple living things. Surely, they could lowed to stand, the little creatures soon appeared in large numbers. The matter of spontaneous generation became part of the broader argument that was to reach new intensity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: that of the vitalists versus the mechanists.

The meat slowly dissolved, Digestion was a chemistry in life was effectively dramatized. In the eighteenth century, the study of gases, by Van Helmont begun page 27), was progressing with particular rapidity and becoming a glamorous field of (see was inevitable that the connection of various life be explored. An English botanist and chemist, Stephen Hales (1677-1761), was one of the ex- study. It gases with COMPOUNDS AND CELLS 47 He published a book in 1727, in which he described experiments by which he measured the rates of plorers.

In 1665, he published a book, Micrographia, in which are to be found some of the most beautiful drawings of microscopic observations ever made. The most important single This, Hooke slice of cork. observation was that of a thin noted, was made up pattern of tiny rectangular chambers. "cells," a common He term for small rooms, and of a fine called these in later years, was to have great consequences. Microscopy languished through the eighteenth century, chiefly because the instrument had reached the limit of this discovery its effectiveness.

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