The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life by Jack Challoner

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The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life by Jack Challoner

Category: Popular Science
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: A beautiful visual journey using images from powerful electron microscopes to show the cell in more intricate detail than ever before.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 192 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Ivy Press
ISBN: 9781782402077

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I've always been mesmerised by micro-worlds and the fact that the tiniest things are made up of even smaller intricate parts. The first time I saw a picture of a human cell, I was fascinated by its complexity. The Cell is a visual marvel, filled with full-colour cell images taken by optical and electron microscopes, using phase contrast, fluorescence and dark-field illumination to colour and differentiate the individual components. The detailed text that accompanies each image explains how cells begin, reproduce, protect themselves and come together in extraordinary ways to create complex life.

The book starts with a brief history of cell observation, dating back to the earliest microscopy in the seventeenth-century. As the centuries passed, and imaging improved, scientists began to learn more and more about the cellular world. The most powerful electron microscopes enable us to see the workings of the cell in intricate detail and yet, like a planet, there is still so much yet to be discovered.

We learn about the different types of cell and the ways that they reproduce and survive. Indeed, the majority of cells on earth are individual living things, such as bacteria and archaea. The close-up photographs of bacteria are strangely beautiful, especially considering the adverse effect that some of them have on the human body. To call them 'simple' seems to be a misnomer; as shown by a remarkably detailed representation of E. Coli cross-section, packed with enzymes, DNA, RNA and ribosomes.

I learned lots of interesting facts, whilst reading the book. For example, an egg is classified as a cell, so technically, the largest cell in the world is actually an ostrich egg. For the lay person, some of the scientific wording and description in this book can be overwhelming; each chapter requires absolute concentration from the reader. The rewards for perseverance are many; the greatest being an increased understanding and appreciation for the living world around us. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy of this beautifully-produced and visually-impressive book.

If you like this book, you will enjoy Cosmic Imagery: Key Images in the History of Science by John D Barrow in which each picture tells a story that illustrates the wonder and beauty of the scientific world.

Buy The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life by Jack Challoner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life by Jack Challoner at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life by Jack Challoner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Cell: A Visual Tour of the Building Block of Life by Jack Challoner at Amazon.com.


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