In a Patch of Fireweed: A Biologist's Life in the Field

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Harvard University Press, Jun 1, 2009 - Nature - 208 pages
3 Reviews

Why would a grown man chase hornets with a thermometer, paint whirligig beetles bright red, or track elephants through the night to fill trash bags with their prodigious droppings? Some might say--to advance science. Heinrich says--because it's fun.

Bernd Heinrich, author of the much acclaimed "Bumblebee Economics," has been playing in the wilds of one continent or another all his life. In the process, he has become one of the world's foremost physiological ecologists. "With In a Patch of Fireweed," he will undoubtedly become one of our foremost writers of popular science.

Part autobiography, part case study in the ways of field biology, "In a Patch of Fireweed" is an endlessly fascinating account of a scientist's life and work. For the author, it is an opportunity to report not just his results but the curiosity, humor, error, passion, and competitiveness that feed into the process of discovery. For the reader, it is simply a delight, a rare chance to share the perceptions of an unusual mind fully in tune with the inner workings of nature. Before his years of research in the woodlands and deserts of North America, the New Guinea highlands, and the plains of East Africa, Heinrich had a sense of the wild that few people in this century can know. He tells the whole story, from his refugee childhood hidden in a German forest, eating mice fried in boar fat, to his ongoing research in the woods surrounding his cabin in Maine.

  

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Review: In a Patch of Fireweed: A Biologist's Life in the Field

User Review  - Katie - Goodreads

Illuminating and fun. A life-long ecologist's tale of how life's challenges gave him a unique insight on macro-ecology. Read full review

Review: In a Patch of Fireweed: A Biologist's Life in the Field

User Review  - Dennis Ross - Goodreads

One of the first books written by my favorite naturalist. It tells the amazing story of his youth during WWII and coming to the USA. His early studies are every bit as fascinating as his later work on birds. Read full review

Contents

Flight into the Forest
1
Maine
22
Tanganyika Bird Hunt
39
The Thesis Hunt
52
In a Patch of Fireweed
69
Capitalist Bees
79
Honeybee Swarms
89
African Dune Beetles
101
Whirligigs
110
Caterpillar Diners
125
Pit Trappers
141
BaldFaced Hunters
152
Counting Yellowjackets
163
Hunting Winter Moths
169
Life on My Hill
179
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Bernd Heinrich is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Vermont. He has written several memoirs of his life in science and nature, including One Manrsquo;s Owl, and Ravens in Winter. Bumblebee Economics was twice a nominee for the American Book Award in Science, and A Year in the Maine Woods won the 1995 Rutstrum Authorsrsquo; Award for Literary Excellence.

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