Science Studies

A Short History of Biology by Isaac Asimov

By Isaac Asimov

In four hundred B.C., whilst Hippocrates wrote a ebook claiming that epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” used to be a typical sickness and never a visitation of demons, the technology if biology could be stated to have began. because then, curious naturalists have studied animals and plans, medical professionals hae sought solutions to very sensible questions. The technology of biology has grown—slowly at the beginning, preventing and beginning back, and construction within the final century to a crescendo that has now not but reached its peak.

This concise, authoritative publication lines the fascinating improvement of the technological know-how of lifestyles, from the traditional Greeks throughout the huge success of Charles Darwin to the explosive progress 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 collage and writer of various books on technology, it is a hugely readable, shiny creation to the heritage and ideas of biology.

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No matter how a stratum was bent and crumpled, even when it sank out of view and cropped up again miles away, it retained its characteristic fossils. Eventually, Smith was able to identify different strata by their fossil content alone. If Hutton's views were correct, then it was reasonable tion that each stratum CLASSIFi'ING LIFE 43 to suppose that the strata lay in the order in which they were very slowly formed, and that the deeper a particular stratum lay, the older it was. If the fossils were, indeed, the remains of once-living creatures, then the order in which they lived might be determined by the order of the strata in which they were to be found.

As anatomy slowly revived, so did natural history. The fifteenth century had seen an "Age of Exploration" dawn upon Europe, and European ships ranged the coasts of Africa, reached India and the islands beyond, and discovered the Americas. As once before, after the conquests of the Macedonians and the Romans, new and unheard of species of plants and animals roused the curiosity of selfish scholars. An Italian Prospero botanist, served as physician to Alpini the Venetian (1553-1617), consul in Cairo, Egypt.

It seemed quite unlikely that stones should mimic forms by accident, so most scholars to be once-living things that stone. Many that they felt had somehow turned life had to suggested they were remains of creatures destroyed by Noah's flood. If, however, the earth were Hutton suggested, they might be extremely ancient remains that had very slowly replaced their ordinary substance by the stony material in the soil about them. A new look at fossils came with William Smith (1769- as old as He surveyed routes for canals (then being built everywhere) and had 1839), an English surveyor turned geologist.

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