Read e-book online A Short History of Biology PDF

By Isaac Asimov

ISBN-10: 0313225834

ISBN-13: 9780313225833

In four hundred B.C., whilst Hippocrates wrote a ebook claiming that epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” was once a common ailment and never a visitation of demons, the technology if biology will be acknowledged to have all started. in view that then, curious naturalists have studied animals and plans, medical professionals hae sought solutions to very useful questions. The technological know-how of biology has grown—slowly before everything, preventing and beginning back, and development within the final century to a crescendo that has now not but reached its peak.

This concise, authoritative e-book strains the fascinating improvement of the technology of lifestyles, from the traditional Greeks throughout the huge fulfillment of Charles Darwin to the explosive development of molecular biology that's leading to today’s nice breakthroughs in genetics and drugs. Written by means of Isaac Asimov, affiliate Professor of Biochemistry at Boston college and writer of various books on technology, it is a hugely readable, vibrant advent to the heritage and ideas of biology.

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Yet it was not Malpighi, either, who really put micros- copy on the map, but a Dutch merchant, Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), to whom microscopy was merely a hobby, but an all-absorbing one. The early microscopists, including Malpighi, had used systems of lenses which, they rightly decided, could pro- duce greater magnifications than a single lens alone could. However, the lenses they used were imperfect, possessing surface irregularities and inner flaws. If too much magnification was attempted, details Van Leeuwenhoek, on grew fuzzy.

One he latter's classes called "vertebrata" as La- marck had done. Cuvier did not, however, lump the rest invertebrates. Instead, he divided them into three as groups: articulata joints, (shelled animals with joints, such as and Crustacea), mollusca (shelled animals without such as clams and snails), and radiata (everything insects else). These largest groups (singular, "phy- he called "phyla" lum," from a Greek word meaning "tribe"). Since Cuthe phyla have been multiplied now vier's day, some three dozen phyla of living creatures, both plant and animal, are recognized.

However, the lenses they used were imperfect, possessing surface irregularities and inner flaws. If too much magnification was attempted, details Van Leeuwenhoek, on grew fuzzy. the other hand, used single enough to be built out of small pieces of flawless glass. He ground these with meticulous care to the point where he could get clear magnification of up to 200-fold. The lenses were, in some cases, no larger than the head of a pin, but they served Van Leeuwenlenses, tiny hoek's purposes perfectly.

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