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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."