By Isaac Asimov
In four hundred B.C., while Hippocrates wrote a publication claiming that epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” used to be a traditional illness and never a visitation of demons, the technology if biology could be acknowledged to have began. considering that then, curious naturalists have studied animals and plans, medical professionals hae sought solutions to very sensible 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 ebook lines the interesting improvement of the technological know-how of existence, from the traditional Greeks during the huge success 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 collage and writer of various books on technological know-how, it is a hugely readable, brilliant advent to the background and ideas of biology.
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Additional info for A Short History of Biology
The heart could be viewed as a pump and the current of blood behaved as one would expect a curis so, where does one stop? Might not the rest of a living organism be merely a set of complicated and interlocking mechanical systems? The most important philosopher of the age, the Frenchman, Rene Descartes (1596-1650), was attracted by the notion of the body as a mechanical device. rent of inanimate fluid to behave. If this In the case of man, at least, such a view was danger- and Deswas careful to point out that the human bodymachine did not include the mind and soul, but only the ously against the accepted beliefs of the day, cartes A SHORT HISTORY OF BIOLOGY 26 animal-like physical structure.
All of this, hov/ever, he kept in coded notebooks. His contemporaries were unaware of his work, which was discovered only in modern times. He did not, therefore, influence the progress of science, and for his I MEDIEVAL BIOLOGY I7 hoarding of knowledge, Leonardo is to be blamed. 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.
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.