By Isaac Asimov
In four hundred B.C., whilst Hippocrates wrote a publication claiming that epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” used to be a normal ailment and never a visitation of demons, the technological know-how if biology might be acknowledged to have 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 initially, preventing and beginning back, and construction within the final century to a crescendo that has no longer but reached its peak.
This concise, authoritative publication lines the intriguing improvement of the technology of lifestyles, from the traditional Greeks throughout 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 through Isaac Asimov, affiliate Professor of Biochemistry at Boston college and writer of various books on technological know-how, it is a hugely readable, bright creation to the background and ideas of biology.
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Extra resources for A Short History of Biology
There seemed no points at all in the records of the strata where all life was wiped out. Some forms survived each period where a catastrophe was suggested. Indeed, some forms now alive have existed virtually unchanged for many millions of years. Catastrophism held out for a while among Cuvier's fol- book ap- lowers, particularly in France, but after Lyell's peared, the it was clearly a last scientific and when dying belief. Catastrophism was stand against the theory of evolution, some form of evolutionary conBy the mid-nineteenth century, conditions were ripe— more than ripe— for such a development and the man to bring it about was on it collapsed, cept simply had to be formulated.
By 1700, tens of thou- ing of the of reports of ancient sands of species of plants and animals had been described. In any listing of even a limited is number of species, it very tempting to group similar species together. Al- most anyone would naturally group the two elephants, for instance. To grouping tens of thousands of species in suit biologists generally is no easy matter, species of method of a manner to and the first find a systematic A SHORT HISTORY OF BIOLOGY 36 make to a naturalist, major attempt in this direction was an English John Ray (1628-1705).
Even the ancients had known that curved mirrors and hollow glass spheres filled with water seemed to have a to rely magnifying In the opening decades of the seven- effect. teenth century men began to experiment with lenses in order to increase this magnification as far as possible. In this, they were inspired by the great success of that other lensed instrument, the telescope, put to first as- tronomical use by Galileo in 1609. Gradually, enlarging instruments, or microscopes (from Greek words meaning "to view the small") came into use.