Generation: The Seventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unraveled the Secrets of Sex, Life, and Growth (Google eBook)

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Dec 8, 2008 - History - 352 pages
4 Reviews
Generation is the story of the exciting, largely forgotten decade during the seventeenth century when a group of young scientists-Jan Swammerdam, the son of a Protestant apothecary, Nils Stensen (also known as Steno), a Danish anatomist who first discovered the human tear duct, Reinier de Graaf, the attractive and brilliant son of a rich and successful Catholic architect, and Antoni Leeuwenhoek, a self-taught draper-dared to challenge thousands of years of orthodox thinking about where life comes from. By meticulous experimentation, dissection, and observation with the newly invented microscope, they showed that like breeds like, that all animals come from an egg, that there is no such thing as spontaneous generation, and that there are millions of tiny, wriggling "eels" in semen. However, their ultimate inability to fully understand the evidence that was in front of them led to a fatal mistake. As a result, the final leap in describing the process of reproduction-which would ultimately give birth to the science of genetics-took nearly two centuries for humanity to achieve. Including previously untranslated documents, Generation interweaves the personal stories of these scientists against a backdrop of the Dutch "Golden Age." It is a riveting account of the audacious men who swept away old certainties and provided the foundation for much of our current understanding of the living world.
  

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Review: Generation: The Seventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unraveled the Secrets of Sex, Life, and Growth

User Review  - Jessica - Goodreads

It's not fair to the author that I read this very shortly after reading Sam Kean's great science history books (The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist's Thumb). While the history is interesting, the ... Read full review

Review: Generation: The Seventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unraveled the Secrets of Sex, Life, and Growth

User Review  - Larissa - Goodreads

You mean women can't give birth to rabbits or kittens? Only a few hundred years ago that was big news. So was the idea that insects reproduced at all. (People thought they just grew out of rotting ... Read full review

Contents

In the Beginning
9
French Connections
31
Insects in Italy
63
The Testicles of Women
94
The Rules and Theorems of Generation
125
Life and Death
155
Man Comes Not from an Egg
188
From Generation to Genetics
220
Chronology
254
Bibliography and Further Reading
299
Picture Credits
323
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Matthew Cobb is in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester, where he lectures on animal behavior. He is also a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, and has translated a number of books on popular science and science history.

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