The Inside Science series provides glimpses of scientific research in various areas and helps students develop an understanding of scientific research. While these two volumes focus on biotechnology and infectious disease, other volumes in the series focus on climate, space, renewable energy, and vaccines. The lively narrative style, filled with anecdotes, presents dynamic stories that will hold a student’s interest. A chronology of important events illustrates milestones in research, from the seventeenth-century discovery of microbes to the 2011 development of the antibiotic Fidaxomicin in Infectious Disease Research, while the 1953 discovery of DNA to the 2010 creation of the first synthetic organism bookend the chronology for Biotech Research. Both books conclude with thoughts about future impacts of research that include spider silk from goat’s milk, laboratory-created steaks, and new vaccines. Infectious Disease includes research on sleeping sickness and Guinea worm disease, as well as more familiar diseases. Biotech Research presents successes in food production, medicine, and industry. The episode of DNA, the “big bang” of biotech research, is especially well written. These two volumes are “must haves” for all levels of youth, even if you have extensive resources for the sciences. (Inside Science) Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—This is a general overview of not just infectious diseases, but also of related research such as the refinement of the microscope in 1670, the inception of vaccines in 1796, and the seminal formulation of various medical theories. Allman discusses infectious disease in three distinct areas: identification and diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Highlighting the work of individual scientists throughout history, such as the legacy of World Health Organization's Carlo Urbani, who died in 2003 as a direct result of treating patients infected with SARS influenza, the book heralds the ongoing research of many notable scientists past and present. The author remains unbiased, utilizing a journalistic writing style coupled with vivid scientific photos in order to elucidate principles of microbiology. A time line spanning six centuries earmarks significant advances and events while color-coded text boxes highlight terms (in gold) and supplemental information (in blue). Modules in biology, health, current events, and social studies can be feasibly built around this informative source of core reading material.—Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME