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The Invisible Kingdom: From the Tips of Our Fingers to the Tops of Our Trash, Inside the Curious World of Microbes
     

The Invisible Kingdom: From the Tips of Our Fingers to the Tops of Our Trash, Inside the Curious World of Microbes

5.0 2
by Idan Ben-Barak
 
With the wit of Bill Bryson and the spirit of Natalie Angier, Idan Ben- Barak takes us on a fantastic voyage into the infinitesimal world of microbiology. In The Invisible Kingdom, he introduces us to the amazing lives and workings of genes, proteins, bacteria, and viruses, and the ways in which they interact to shape life on Earth. Exploring everything from

Overview

With the wit of Bill Bryson and the spirit of Natalie Angier, Idan Ben- Barak takes us on a fantastic voyage into the infinitesimal world of microbiology. In The Invisible Kingdom, he introduces us to the amazing lives and workings of genes, proteins, bacteria, and viruses, and the ways in which they interact to shape life on Earth. Exploring everything from radioactive waste and insect sex-change operations to the inner workings of antibiotics, Ben-Barak reveals how important these tiny critters are to all of us. He brings this largely unseen world to life with refreshing analogies and metaphors: cells “pop like bubbles” and bacteria “dream of rain.” On the journey, we learn about the teamwork required to rot human teeth, the origins of diseases, what really goes on inside cow stomachs, and the ways in which microbes benefit human life. An infectious and informative scientific exploration, The Invisible Kingdom will change the way we see the world around us.

Editorial Reviews

Microorganisms have been around for 3-4 billion years, but humans first sighted them less than four hundred years ago. Unless since the invention of the microscope have we gained knowledge about all the teeming microscopic critters that inhabit us and the world around us. Idan Ben-Bark's The Invisible Kingdom unlocks the secrets of the genes, proteins, bacteria, and viruses that shape and threaten our existence. This lively intellectual encounter immerses us in discussions of radioactive waste, insect sex change, infectious diseases, antibiotics, and bovine digestion. It keeps you guessing; it keeps you thinking.
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Ben-Barak (Small Wonders) writes with verve, enthusiasm and humor about critters that most people find frightening, repugnant, and worthy of mass slaughter via antibiotic hand sanitizer; in this illuminating book, Ben-Barak assures us that without them, "we'll all be dead within days, if not hours." Sure, they cause horrible diseases and turn food rotten, but microbes also clean up waste (including radioactive contamination, chemicals and plastics) and play an important role in digestion (humans have ten times more microbials than human cells). Flexing degrees in both microbiology and medical science, Australian-based scientist Ben-Barak covers a lot of territory, beginning with the origins of single-celled life, 3.8 billion years ago. Connecting the mechanisms of asexual reproduction used by single-celled bacteria to human sexual reproduction, he explains lucidly the mechanics of DNA and RNA, as well as the rapid mutation rate of new strains of germs, diseases and genuinely useful microbes used for thousands of years to make bread, beer, wine and yogurt, and more recently in the manufacturing of hormones. Wonderfully informative and entertaining, Ben-Barak's latest is a brilliant read for both general readers and science buffs.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

Booklist
“Fun facts are one attraction of Ben-Barak’s work, another is the importance the author accords to what microbes do to us. Perhaps readers will become furious hand washers after learning about the culpability of viruses and bacteria in diseases; perhaps they’ll be inspired by the possibilities of enlisting them to kill cancer or clean up pollution; certainly, they’ll be better informed by Ben-Barak’s entertaining approach.”

SEED
“…dotted with pub-worthy facts (two to four pounds of human body weight is made up of microbes) and playful footnotes that make for an accessible and amusing look at the hidden world of ubiquitous microscopic creatures like bacteria, archaea, protists, and viruses. Woven into the humor is a bona fide crash course in parasitology, microbiology, and gene transfer…”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Wonderfully informative and entertaining, Ben-Barak's latest is a brilliant read for both general readers and science buffs.”

BoingBoing.net
“I enjoyed this lighthearted insider’s guide to germs… I'd love to shrink down to microscopic size to see some of the odd lifeforms described in this book.”  

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786749614
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
08/04/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
1,159,643
File size:
358 KB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Idan Ben-Barak holds degrees in medical science and microbiology from the Hadassah School of Medicine at the University of Jerusalem. His writing has been featured in New Scientist. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. This is his first book.

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The Invisible Kingdom: From the Tips of Our Fingers to the Tops of Our Trash, Inside the Curious World of Microbes 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello
Jessica Anderson More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in the world around you and enjoy a fun book to read with light humor, then this is the book for you. I have a biology degree and work with microbes but I know that this book can be for anyone. The author really personifies microbes in a way that draws you in. Please read this book! You won't regret it.