Passive Fear: Alternative to Fight or Flight: When frightened animals hideby E. Norbert Smith
As our knowledge of the passive response to fear in animals deepens, a clearer understanding of the human fear response will emerge. But there is more to science than facts and discoveries and breakthroughs. Scientific research has its own compensation. Doing the work of science is rewarding. Working outside with camera and binoculars while becoming one with… See more details below
As our knowledge of the passive response to fear in animals deepens, a clearer understanding of the human fear response will emerge. But there is more to science than facts and discoveries and breakthroughs. Scientific research has its own compensation. Doing the work of science is rewarding. Working outside with camera and binoculars while becoming one with nature is awe-inspiring. Discovering the secrets of how animals live and what they do and why they do it is the most satisfying thing I have ever accomplished. Animals do interesting things. Our respect for animals and all of nature increases as we try to fathom the complexities of even commonplace creatures. One of the most exciting aspects of scientific adventure is not knowing where it will lead. My curiosity about how alligators stayed warm started me on a journey of wonderment to how hiding animals respond to fear. And that journey lead to the crib of a baby at risk for an insidious killer. It is impossible to anticipate where future research into the passive fear response will lead. One fact is abundantly clear; it will be an exciting voyage into the unknown.
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This book is an excellent example of nature writing and also offers a good introduction to scientific field research. The author's points about the importance of field research as opposed to purely lab based efforts should be required reading for researchers and public policy makers.
For many not grounded in science, the process of scientific discovery is difficult to comprehend and somewhat mystical. Many books describing science are dry and sprinkled with incomprehensible words. 'Passive Fear: Alternative to Fight or Flight' is completely different. Dr. Norbert Smith has condensed and clarified some of the methods by which scientific discoveries are made in this exciting, autobiographical book. He has a gift of drawing the reader into his quest so that we begin to ask the same questions he was compelled to answer. Along the way, he chronicles the story of his boyhood interest in animals and the wonders of nature. Readers will begin to understand the differences between research conducted in the laboratory, with artificially bred animals, as opposed to Dr. Smith's field research using animals born and raised in the wild. Readers will enjoy Dr. Smith's discussion of the problems in using those artificially bred lab animals to understand what really goes on in the world. Dr. Smith clearly and succinctly describes the thrust of his research. He wished to understand a response many animals have when confronted with a fear-inducing situation. He observed a slowing of heart rate, as opposed to popular wisdom stating that heart rate should increase. He details his groundbreaking work in fitting devices to animals to gently measure their heart rate and body temperature. He worked with such unlikely research animals as alligators, woodchucks, swamp rabbits, gray squirrels, and box turtles. Readers will agonize with Dr. Smith as he describes the difficulties in procuring funding for his novel research. They will also rejoice as Dr. Smith's research findings turn traditional science on its head, but gradually come to be accepted. A bibliography lists 17 of his publications which have appeared in prestigious journals such as The Journal of Applied Physiology. In summary, this book opens readers to the joy of science. Young readers contemplating a career in science will better understand the exciting road ahead of them. Seasoned scientists and researchers such as myself will benefit from reading the trials and travails of a fellow scientist. However, above all, any reader wishing to gain an expanded view of science would do well to pay close attention to Dr. Smith's book.
This captivating scientific autobiography commences with a routine biology class field trip! Author Norbert Smith, then a new graduate student virtually unknown to other students in the class looked across the pond and perceived the eyes of an alligator. He knew how to call and get a reaction from alligators. Then in response to his call,the six foot wild male swam right across the pond to his feet. Smith picked up the creature and explained infomation about him to his bedazzled classmates. This attention-grabbing account introduces a main emphasis of the book which is that organisms should be studied in their natural environments. In his own later studies Smith employed radio telemetry systems which he had designed. An advantage of using these was that the reptiles and some mammals he utilized could be studied more easily in their natural habitats. Smith's relatively small book consists of fifteen short sequential chapters which exude the author¿s enthusiasm. The book easily can be read during a single sitting, and it deserves a place in nature as well as research libraries. Also it would be an ideal gift for students, researchers and all those interested in what makes 'tick' the bodies of animals and even our own.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I'm not a 'science' person, but this book was not written to be over the average person's head. Rather, it was written by a very intelligent person for everyone to read. I think those who read this book will enjoy the humor in it, and also learn a little bit about science & various animals in the process. I highly recommend this book to everyone.