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Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture Paperback – Apr 29 2012
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About the Author
Robert Bruce Thompson is a coauthor of Building the Perfect PC, Astronomy Hacks, and the Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders. Thompson built his first computer in 1976 from discrete chips. It had 256 bytes of memory, used toggle switches and LEDs for I/O, ran at less than 1MHz, and had no operating system. Since then, he has bought, built, upgraded, and repaired hundreds of PCs for himself, employers, customers, friends, and clients. Robert spends most clear, moonless nights outdoors with his 10-inch Dobsonian reflector telescope, and is currently designing a larger, computerized, truss-tube Dobsonian that he plans to build.
Barbara Fritchman Thompson is, with her husband Robert, the co-author of numerous books about computers, science, and technology. With her Masters in Library Science and twenty years' experience as a public librarian, Barbara is the research half of our writing team.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is not intended as a full biology textbook but as a lab manual to accompany almost any standard biology textbook. As a guide on how to set up an economical home lab for learning purposes and as a guide to safe procedures it seems good. At least I have found the chapter on obtaining microscopes illuminating so far.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In spite of the statement "All Lab, No Lecture," there is a great deal of prose in the book, all of it written in clear, insightful style. Few writers can match the clarity and economy of the Thompsons' writing.
The book begins with instructions on setting up a lab, including chapter and verse on microscopes, culture, histology, and general laboratory equipment. There is basic instruction in using a microscope, mounting and staining specimens. Chemist that he is, Robert then spends time in labs exploring acids, bases, buffers, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, enzymes, and vitamins.
In all, there are 33 labs listed, with multiple procedures within each lab. That authors have attempted to cover the main areas of biology intro courses, a partial listing of subjects covered include:
DNA separation by gel electrophoresis
Chlorophyll and photosynthesis
Sampling plant populations
Rhizobia effects on plant growth
Air pollution testing
Soil and water pollution testing
Bacterial antibiotic sensitivity
It's amazing to me that the authors were able to present so many subjects in such detail in this book. And the clarity and depth of writing also amazes me. I'm a physician, and have been studying biology for many years. The writing in this book meets or surpasses that of other books I've read on these subjects.
There is an 11 page index, there are review questions for each lab session, and the illustrations including the photomicrographs are of good quality.
For the aspiring young biologist, the home schooled high school student, and the older person who would like to catch up on current laboratory science, this book is highly recommended. As with all books in this genre, for maximum safety, younger students will need to be closely supervised as they do the experiments.
Well, one great way to start is to get a new book in the O'Reilly "DIY Science" series, Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments. The book explains, in clear and straightforward ways, how to run your own biology lab experiments in your own home. There are chapters on how to set up your own, for-real laboratory at home, how to use a microscope, and other basic techniques. Then, a long series of chapters walks you (and your young Dexter) through experiments and studies for the entire range of biology: from Osmosis, to DNA Separation, to Cell Division, to studying Proteins, Enzymes, and Vitamins, and much more.
After you go through all of these experiments, you would be well on your way to becoming a scientist (or at least a lab technician) in your own right. Note that Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments is not really for young children, as biology itself gets pretty complicated. But you and your child should at least gain a broad and practical understanding of the wonders of the living world around us. And maybe, just maybe, you'll be on your way to changing the world. Just like Jack Andraka.
This book is laid out succinctly with abundant illustrations and numerous suggestions for keeping your expenses to a minimum. Very much appreciated. I have a lot of books on self taught biology and this is by far the best. If you do like this resource, you should also check out the associated chemistry book.
I now eagerly await their book regarding Forensic science and experiments, which has been previously hinted about.
I have only two caveats to offer about this excellent handbook: Firstly, some may prefer or choose to supplement its pedagogy with a clear hierarchical description of the corresponding biology taught in a more lecture/traditional text form to supplement the experiments. Also, despite the title the book concentrates exclusively on microbiology as opposed to other biology experiments that might be performed at home, such as dissection of plants and animals visible to the naked eye, experiments involving bioluminescence, or the production of cellulose from the fermentation of kambucha.
A thoroughly educational and simultaneously entertaining introduction to microbiology for the home Maker and for in-home education.
Well, college was a long, long time ago, and now I want to at least feel connected to the field without having to face going back to school with a room full of 19-year olds.
I wanted to buy a microscope, but was completely confused by all the terms and features. Then I got this book.
There is a whole chapter dedicated to microscopy, including what features and brands to look for. I hadn't realized there is a whole DIY Biology subculture out there- people just like me.
I think it helps to have at least some science courses under your belt so you would get the most out of the labs. But even if you don't, the text is excellent, and worth having even if you never opened a petri dish.
Make sure to heed their safety warnings, especially with regards to safe practices with live cultures. I am really looking forward to doing as many of the labs as possible.
Also, as another reviewer noted, you will have some serious practical knowledge and lab skills by the end of the coursework.
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