The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life

Jack Challoner. Univ. of Chicago, $40 (192p) ISBN 978-0-226-22418-3
Using light and electron microscopes that can magnify from 2,000 to 10 million times, this photo book by Challoner (The Elements), a science writer and educator, offers scores of beautifully intimate views of the complex organic universes of cells. Their sheer physical diversity is striking. Adipose tissue bound in collagen gives the impression of seaweed caught in an old net. Bundles of collagen fibrils mimic bamboo forests. Cells undergoing mitosis looks like jellyfish breaking apart. Methanosarcina colonies bear a resemblance to cauliflower. The pictures would wow a child, but the ambitious text is for adult readers. Challoner attempts to explain everything about cells, whether simple or complex, including their ancient beginnings, the different ways cells reproduce and succumb to disease, and the myriad ways humans coopt and manipulate cells' machinery to enable cloning, genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and pharmacogenomics. Those in the know may have minor quibbles over some of the book's explanations and definitions, which don't always include the most recent research breakthroughs. Still, as an informative photo volume, Challoner's book covers an astonishing amount of ground and would be an intriguing addition to any introductory biology class. Photos. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-78240-349-4
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