Biology
Featured Items
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe
A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside
Paperback      ISBN: 0812973402

Katrina Firlik is a neurosurgeon, one of only two hundred or so women among the alpha males who dominate this high-pressure, high-prestige medical specialty. She is also a superbly gifted writer-witty, insightful, at once deeply humane and refreshingly wry. In Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Dr. Firlik draws on this rare combination to create a neurosurgeon's Kitchen Confidential-a unique insider's memoir of a fascinating profession.

Neurosurgeons are renowned for their big egos and aggressive self-confidence, and Dr. Firlik confirms that timidity is indeed rare in the field. "They're the kids who never lost at musical chairs," she writes. A brain surgeon is not only a highly trained scientist and clinician but also a mechanic who of necessity develops an intimate, hands-on familiarity with the gray matter inside our skulls. It's the balance between cutting-edge medical technology and manual dexterity, between instinct and expertise, that Firlik finds so appealing-and so difficult to master.

Firlik recounts how her background as a surgeon's daughter with a strong stomach and a keen interest in the brain led her to this rarefied specialty, and she describes her challenging, atypical trek from medical student to fully qualified surgeon. Among Firlik's more memorable cases: a young roofer who walked into the hospital with a three-inch-long barbed nail driven into his forehead, the result of an accident with his partner's nail gun, and a sweet little seven-year-old boy whose untreated earache had become a raging, potentially fatal infection of the brain lining.

From OR theatrics to thorny ethical questions, from the surprisingly primitive tools in a neurosurgeon's kit to glimpses of future techniques like the "brain lift," Firlik cracks open medicine's most prestigious and secretive specialty. Candid, smart, clear-eyed, and unfailingly engaging, Another Day in the Frontal Lobe is a mesmerizing behind-the-scenes glimpse into a world of incredible competition and incalculable rewards.
An Introduction to Mathematical Physiology and Biology
An Introduction to Mathematical Physiology and Biology
Hardcover      ISBN: 0521641101

This textbook is concerned with the mathematical modeling of biological and physiological phenomena for mathematically sophisticated students. A range of topics are discussed: diffusion population dynamics, autonomous differential equations and the stability of ecosystems, biogeography, pharmokinetics, biofluid mechanics, cardiac mechanics, the spectral analysis of heart sounds using FFT techniques. The last chapter deals with a wide variety of commonly used medical devices. This edition includes new chapters on epidemiology, including modeling the spread of AIDS through a population. Coverage is based on courses taught by the author over many years and the material is class tested. The reader is aided by many exercises that examine key points and extend the presentation in the body of the text. All students of mathematical biology will find this book to be a highly useful resource.

Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind
Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms
The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind
Paperback      ISBN: 0307275531

From one of the world's leading natural scientists and the acclaimed author of Trilobite , Life: A Natural History of Four Billion Years of Life on Earth and Dry Storeroom No. 1 comes a fascinating chronicle of life's history told not through the fossil record but through the stories of organisms that have survived, almost unchanged, throughout time. Evolution, it seems, has not completely obliterated its tracks as more advanced organisms have evolved; the history of life on earth is far older--and odder--than many of us realize.

Scattered across the globe, these remarkable plants and animals continue to mark seminal events in geological time. From a moonlit beach in Delaware, where the hardy horseshoe crab shuffles its way to a frenzy of mass mating just as it did 450 million years ago, to the dense rainforests of New Zealand, where the elusive, unprepossessing velvet worm has burrowed deep into rotting timber since before the breakup of the ancient supercontinent, to a stretch of Australian coastline with stromatolite formations that bear witness to the Precambrian dawn, the existence of these survivors offers us a tantalizing glimpse of pivotal points in evolutionary history. These are not "living fossils" but rather a handful of tenacious creatures of days long gone.

Written in buoyant, sparkling prose, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms is a marvelously captivating exploration of the world's old-timers combining the very best of science writing with an explorer's sense of adventure and wonder.
Essay on Classification
Essay on Classification
Paperback      ISBN: 0486435806

A major influence on the development of American scientific culture, Swiss-born Louis Agassiz (1807-73) was one of the great scientists of his day. A student of anatomist Georges Cuvier, Agassiz adapted his teacher's pioneering techniques of comparative anatomy to paleontology, and he rose to prominence as a distinguished systematist, paleontologist, and educator. Agassiz introduced science to ordinary citizens to an unprecedented degree; people around the world read his books, sent him specimens, and consulted his opinion.
Agassiz was also a staunch opponent of the theory of evolution, and he was among the last of the reputable scientists who continued to reject the concept after the publication of The Origin of the Species. All of nature bore testimony to a divine plan, Agassiz believed, and he could not reconcile himself to a theory that did not invoke God's design. Ironically, his 1851 Essay on Classification provided Darwin and other evolutionists with evidence from the fossil record to support the theory of natural selection.
A treasure of historically valuable insights that contributed to the development of evolutionary biology, this volume introduced the landmark contention that paleontology, embryology, ecology, and biogeography are inextricably linked in classifications that reveal the true relationships between organisms. Its emphasis on advanced and original work gave major impetus to the study of science directly from nature, and it remains a classic of American scientific literature.

Biology for Dummies
Biology for Dummies
2nd Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0470598751
An updated edition of the ultimate guide to understanding biology

Ever wondered how the food you eat becomes the energy your body needs to keep going? The theory of evolution says that humans and chimps descended from a common ancestor, but does it tell us how and why? We humans are insatiably curious creatures who can't help wondering how things work -- starting with our own bodies. Wouldn't it be great to have a single source of quick answers to all our questions about how living things work? Now there is.

From molecules to animals, cells to ecosystems, Biology For Dummies, 2nd Edition answers all your questions about how living things work.

  • Written in plain English and packed with dozens of illustrations, quick-reference
  • Cheat Sheets, and helpful tables and diagrams, it cuts right to the chase with fast-paced, easy-to-absorb explanations of the life processes common to all organisms.
  • More than 20% new and updated content, including a substantial overhaul to the organization of topics to make it a friendly classroom supplement
  • Coverage of the most recent developments and discoveries in evolutionary, reproductive, and ecological biology
  • Includes practical, up-to-date examples

Whether you're currently enrolled in a biology class or just want to know more about this fascinating and ever-evolving field of study, this engaging guide will give you a grip on complex biology concepts and unlock the mysteries of how life works in no time.

Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures
Parasite Rex
Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures
Paperback      ISBN: 074320011x

IN THIS REISSUED PAPERBACK EDITION WITH A NEW EPILOGUE, CARL ZIMMER REVEALS THE POWER, DANGER, AND BEAUTY OF PARASITES.

For centuries, parasites have lived in nightmares, horror stories, and the darkest shadows of science. In Parasite Rex, Carl Zimmer takes readers on a fantastic voyage into the secret universe of these extraordinary life-forms--which are not only among the most highly evolved on Earth, but make up the majority of life's diversity. Traveling from the steamy jungles of Costa Rica to the parasite-riddled war zone of southern Sudan, Zimmer introduces an array of amazing creatures that invade their hosts, prey on them from within, and control their behavior. He also vividly describes parasites that can change DNA, rewire the brain, make men more distrustful and women more outgoing, and turn hosts into the living dead. This comprehensive, gracefully written book brings parasites out into the open and uncovers what they can teach us all about the most fundamental survival tactics in the universe--the laws of Parasite Rex.
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
The Botany of Desire
A Plant's-Eye View of the World
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0375760393
The book that helped make Michael Pollan, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Change Your Mind, Cooked and The Omnivore's Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in America

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers' genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires--sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control--with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind's most basic yearnings. And just as we've benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?
Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance
Think Smart
A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance
Paperback      ISBN: 1594484430
From a renowned neuroscientist and bestselling author comes a book that shows readers how to improve and tone the brain.

In the last five years, there have been exciting new scientific discoveries about the brain, its function, and its performance. In this fascinating, entertaining book, brain expert Dr. Richard Restak has asked his colleagues-the world's leading brain scientists and researchers-an important question: What can I do to help my brain work more efficiently? Their surprising answers are at the heart of Think Smart. In his characteristically accessible style, Restak explains the latest scientific discoveries about our brain and gives readers strategies on how they can keep their most powerful organ in top condition and fight off its decline.
An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain
An Alchemy of Mind
The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain
Paperback      ISBN: 0743246748
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Zookeeper's Wife, an ambitious and enlightening work that combines an artist's eye with a scientist's erudition to illuminate, as never before, the magic and mysteries of the human mind.

Long treasured by literary readers for her uncommon ability to bridge the gap between art and science, celebrated scholar-artist Diane Ackerman returns with the book she was born to write. Her dazzling new work, An Alchemy of Mind, offers an unprecedented exploration and celebration of the mental fantasia in which we spend our days--and does for the human mind what the bestselling A Natural History of the Senses did for the physical senses.

Bringing a valuable female perspective to the topic, Diane Ackerman discusses the science of the brain as only she can: with gorgeous, immediate language and imagery that paint an unusually lucid and vibrant picture for the reader. And in addition to explaining memory, thought, emotion, dreams, and language acquisition, she reports on the latest discoveries in neuroscience and addresses controversial subjects like the effects of trauma and male versus female brains. In prose that is not simply accessible but also beautiful and electric, Ackerman distills the hard, objective truths of science in order to yield vivid, heavily anecdotal explanations about a range of existential questions regarding consciousness, human thought, memory, and the nature of identity.
Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Ontogeny and Phylogeny
Paperback      ISBN: 0674639413

"Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" was Haeckel's answer--the wrong one--to the most vexing question of nineteenth-century biology: what is the relationship between individual development (ontogeny) and the evolution of species and lineages (phylogeny)? In this, the first major book on the subject in fifty years, Stephen Jay Gould documents the history of the idea of recapitulation from its first appearance among the pre-Socratics to its fall in the early twentieth century.

Mr. Gould explores recapitulation as an idea that intrigued politicians and theologians as well as scientists. He shows that Haeckel's hypothesis--that human fetuses with gill slits are, literally, tiny fish, exact replicas of their water-breathing ancestors--had an influence that extended beyond biology into education, criminology, psychoanalysis (Freud and Jung were devout recapitulationists), and racism. The theory of recapitulation, Gould argues, finally collapsed not from the weight of contrary data, but because the rise of Mendelian genetics rendered it untenable.

Turning to modern concepts, Gould demonstrates that, even though the whole subject of parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny fell into disrepute, it is still one of the great themes of evolutionary biology. Heterochrony--changes in developmental timing, producing parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny--is shown to be crucial to an understanding of gene regulation, the key to any rapprochement between molecular and evolutionary biology. Gould argues that the primary evolutionary value of heterochrony may lie in immediate ecological advantages for slow or rapid maturation, rather than in long-term changes of form, as all previous theories proclaimed.

Neoteny--the opposite of recapitulation--is shown to be the most important determinant of human evolution. We have evolved by retaining the juvenile characters of our ancestors and have achieved both behavioral flexibility and our characteristic morphology thereby (large brains by prolonged retention of rapid fetal growth rates, for example).

Gould concludes that "there may be nothing new under the sun, but permutation of the old within complex systems can do wonders. As biologists, we deal directly with the kind of material complexity that confers an unbounded potential upon simple, continuous changes in underlying processes. This is the chief joy of our science."