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Begun three centuries ago by pioneers who constructed rudimentary microscopes to observe otherwise invisible life, the field of microbiology has often evolved in unexpected ways. Through the techniques introduced by these first luminaries, our knowledge of what Leeuwenhoek called animalcules has deepened considerably. So too has our awareness of our paradoxical relationship with the microbial world. Microorganisms continually assail our tissues, yet they also provide the means of promoting human health and environmental well-being. This entertaining and informative volume provides a broad picture of the most compelling areas of the field, its early history, and its recent discoveries.
Animalcules presents a collection of the columns of the same name that have been published over the course of the past 12 years in Microbe (formerly ASM News). Each and every piece appearing in the book has been meticulously updated and revised, with the newest references added where possible. This volume is an erudite, yet approachable overview of microbiology. It introduces the field’s earliest “microbe hunters” in their human context. By chronicling the history, pioneers, and discoveries of microbiology, Animalcules provides an important window into the incredible diversity of the microbial world. It covers the pioneering work of early scientists like Antony van Leeuwenhoek, Robert Hooke, and Hideyo Noguchi while also providing thoughtful explanations on timely topics such as Botox, Lyme disease, and bioremediation.
· Presents the field of microbiology in its widest context
· Brings a historical perspective to the field: its heroes, dissenters, and discoveries
· Profiles the first microbiologists and speculates about those of the future
· Offers insight into the pivotal role of microbes at the center of terrestrial life