Biology Reading List

What would you say if we were to tell you the entire history of the world resides right inside you? And what would you think if we were to tell you are part of this incredible history? It might sound like a work of fiction, but it truly isn’t.

You see, we are connected to the history of everyone and everything. We are connected to what happened in the past, the multiple plagues, society-changing, the diseases, to the ones who were once alive and the ones who are alive now… All connected by our genes.

In A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes, author Adam Rutherford explains about how everything that ever happened is somehow connected to our genes, and how we take part on the great history of the world.

The book carries a very interest premise; it states that within ourselves, we carry the whole history of our species: The deaths, the births, the viruses, the migration, absolutely everything. And where do we carry all of this? In our genomes, in the human genome. Read more……

Life is the biggest mystery there is. There are so many questions, so many things we really don’t know that it can be overwhelming. But sometimes, just sometimes, we can find the answers to the biggest mysteries in life, in the smallest organisms alive.

Believe it or not, the answer to many of our questions reside on the cells. Yes, these small things that compose the whole world, are the answer to each and every one of our single questions.

And this isn’t anything new; scientist have known this for quite some years now. Read more…

The human body is one of the most complex and interesting organisms in the planet, yes, we are way far from being perfect (biologically speaking). Still, there’s no doubt our bodies are something beyond incredible.

And when you start to think about, to really think about it, it’s incredible the thousands of living organisms that live within of our bodies. Because yes, in case you weren’t aware, our bodies hold thousands of living organisms.

That’s precisely what I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life is all about. Read more…

Putting together all of the significant scientific discoveries that have changed our world can take quite some time. It would take many many books to even gather a part of the vital information we should know about.

However, someone has made an effort to gather all possible information about three major scientific theories and discoveries into a series of books for everyone to understand. And that someone is author Jonathan Miller (alongside Dylan Evans, Steve Jones, Borin Van Loon and others). Read more…

The human body is the most perfect and mysterious machine ever made. It works twenty-four hours a day, every day of every year, it has all that it needs to survive, and we all have a very similar, yet completely different body from one another.

When you think about it, the human body is fascinating. From the outside to every single organ on the inside, to every single blood cell, to every neuron. There is so much to know, so much to explore; it is ridiculous.

Although science and biology have already uncovered many of the secrets our bodies hold, there are still many things to know, many things yet to understand and discover fully.

And author Armand Marie Leroi has managed to uncover yet one of the most intriguing and fascinating mysteries of the human body: The mutations. What they are, how they work and why they happen.

Read more…

We’re taught at some point in high school about how the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. It is something that was shown to us, and we simply agreed with it and moved on.

Nowadays, it is a well-known fact mitochondrion is, in fact, the powerhouse of the cell, but have you ever stopped and wonder what does that mean to you? What does it mean to have millions of mitochondria living in each cell of your body? You probably haven’t.

And the truth is, most people haven’t wondered that either, or that was until author, doctor and biochemist Nick Lane decided to not only pose this question but answer it in the form of a brilliant book.

Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the meaning of life, is Nick Lane’s answer to the pressing question “Are mitochondria that important in human evolution?” and to give you the short answer: Yes, they are. They are incredibly important. Read more…

 

Many interesting stories are surrounding the world of science. From betrayal to fights, to unfair situations, many incredible stories are just as important as the discoveries that result from them.

That’s precisely the case with the story behind one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the world: The discovery of the DNA. Yes, that’s right, the most significant scientific breakthrough of the year has a very dark, unfair story just behind it.

In Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, author Brenda Maddox takes it upon her shoulders to tells us one of the most significant unfair situations of all times regarding such a massive discovery like this one.

Some people call this book a biography since it does tells the story of Rosalind Franklin and her impact in the world. However, it is considerably more focused on what happened during the most important scientific breakthrough of all times, and how it instantly changed her life, making her a forgotten, neglected figure. Read more…

 

Have you ever wondered why us? Why did, as a species, make it through years and years, through a natural disaster, what did we do to be able to survive such things? If you haven’t ask yourself this, that’s okay, but Yuval Noah Harari has.

Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, is a book about the history of the world but written from a much different perspective than most history books.

You see, centuries ago, when the world was starting, there were up to six different human species in total. And now, many, many years later, there’s only one surviving species: The homo sapiens. We are the last and remaining human species in the world… But how? Just why?

Author Yuval Noah Harari talks about the evolution of men and how we came to be what we are right now by taking a look at the many things and events that happened through history. What marked us, what changed us, what things set out the course for humankind to reach this point in time and history.

Read more…

 

Imagine being a woman who has Cancer and going to the doctor to get treated. Imagine a doctor getting a medical sample of your functional cells and cancerous cells… And then imagine your cells becoming the world-famous immortal cells.

Sounds crazy, right? It might, but it is a true story that happened to no one else but Henrietta Lacks, and that it is one (if not the most) famous story in the recent science history. 

You see, the name Henrietta Lacks carries a considerable amount of sorrow, problems and political debate, something that you can’t merely outlook when you are talking about her. Yes, she’s the main reason modern medicine is so successful today and the reason why scientist have been able to develop some vaccines and test their experiments. Yet, her story is devastating in many ways than one.

Author Rebecca Skloot took it upon herself to tell two stories in this book. First, the overwhelming and heartbreaking story of Henrietta Lacks and her descendants, and second, the history of the multi-billionaire laboratories who are still using her cells up until this day. It’s a novel that tells to drastically different truths while miraculously keeping an objective opinion about both. Read more…

Many people tend to think our bodies are perfect, and we like to believe that is true. That we are the perfect creation, a being that can survive on its own, intelligent and with two opposite thumbs… The epitome of evolution. But truth be told, we are far from being perfect.

And scientist knows this. Scientists are pretty much aware we aren’t some perfect creation that managed to be the peak of evolution; we are flawed; we are still a work in progress. Yes, we have come a long way, but we still have a long road ahead.

This is what author Alice Roberts is trying to make us understand in her book The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being: Evolution and the Making of Us, that us, as humans beings, are way too far from being the perfect specie we like to think we are.

However, not because we are flawed, it means we aren’t extremely interesting, because we, as the human species, are incredibly impressive. Which the author tries to convey in this quick novel by showing how evolution has turned us into what we are today. Read more…

Vaccines, one of the most controversial topics of the modern world. Something that started as a magical solution for many health problems that once killed millions of people is nowadays very controversial and talked about topic… All because people don’t take the time to read about them.

You see, Vaccines are, after all, the magical solution we needed, and they are, until this very day, one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of modern history. But even then, people aren’t aware of the history behind this fantastic thing.

In The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Used Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses, author Meredith Wadman starts by telling us about Leonard Hayflick and how he is pretty much responsible for creating the vaccine.

The book takes us from Leonard’s early days as a scientist and how he carried himself in the field, to the moment that set a mark on recent history: When Leonard used a fetus’ cells and created what he called the WI-38 cells, which were the base to develop vaccines as we know them today. Read more…