By Isaac Asimov

In four hundred B.C., whilst Hippocrates wrote a publication claiming that epilepsy, the “sacred disease,” used to be a traditional affliction and never a visitation of demons, the technology if biology could be stated to have started. when you consider that then, curious naturalists have studied animals and plans, medical professionals hae sought solutions to very functional questions. The technological know-how of biology has grown—slowly at the beginning, preventing and beginning back, and construction within the final century to a crescendo that has no longer but reached its peak.

This concise, authoritative booklet lines the fascinating improvement of the technology 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 medication. Written by way of Isaac Asimov, affiliate Professor of Biochemistry at Boston collage and writer of various books on technology, it is a hugely readable, bright creation to the background and ideas of biology.

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Van Helmont's first studies of the chemistry of living organisms (biochemistry, we now call it) began to develop and grow in the hands of others. An early enthusiast was Franz de la Boe (1614-72), usually known by his Latinized name, Franciscus Sylvius. He carried the concept to an extreme of considering the body a chemical device altogether. He felt that digestion was a chemical process, for instance, and that its workings were rather similar to the chemical changes that went on in fermentation.

He was seduced into this belief by the mistaken feeling that only the human being possessed a pineal gland. This quickly proved not to be so. Indeed the pineal gland in certain primitive reptiles is far better developed than in the human. wrong in details, and there were physiologists who attempted to hammer home the mechanist view in elaborate detail. Thus, the Italian physiologist, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608-79), in a book appearing the year after his death, analyzed muscular action by Descartes' theories, though possibly were nevertheless very influential, treating muscle-bone combinations as a system of levers.

Could the ancestral giraffe conceivably have tried to be- come blotched? Lamarck died poor and neglected, and his theory of But it had opened the floodmight have suffered a defeat but the mere fact that it had entered the battleground was significant. There would be other chances to evolution was shrugged off. gates just the same. Evolution fight later. The A Geological Background major diflSculty that stood in the way of all theories of evolution was the apparent slowness of species change. In the memory mankind there were no of cases of one species turning into another.

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