The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From by Edward Dolnick

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Throughout most of human history, babies were surprises. People knew the basics: men and women had sex, and sometimes babies followed. But beyond that the origins of life were a colossal mystery. The Seeds of Life is the remarkable and rollicking story of how a series of blundering geniuses and brilliant amateurs struggled for two centuries to discover where, exactly, babies come from.

Taking a page from investigative thrillers, acclaimed science writer Edward Dolnick looks to these early scientists as if they were detectives hot on the trail of a bedeviling and urgent mystery. These strange searchers included an Italian surgeon using shark teeth to prove that female reproductive organs were not 'failed' male genitalia, and a Catholic priest who designed ingenious miniature pants to prove that frogs required semen to fertilize their eggs.

A witty and rousing history of science, The Seeds of Life presents our greatest scientists struggling-against their perceptions, their religious beliefs, and their deep-seated prejudices-to uncover how and where we come from.



Title : The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0465082955
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 pages


Reviews


Melora rated it ★★★★★

August 02, 2017

Pop-science history in comic mode, I found this endlessly fascinating and funny! Dolnick traces the history of the scientific inquiry into the mystery of where babies come from, starting with the investigations of Leonardo Da Vinci, in the 1490s, (though he summarizes the thinking up to Leonardo,...


Angie rated it ★★★★★

October 04, 2017

Where do babies come from? Every child asks that question, but so did Aristotle, Darwin, and many other brilliant minds through the ages. Some of their ideas are as crazy as anything a child might dream up, and In The Seeds of Life Edward Dolnick has written a book that is both highly informative...


Kathryn rated it ★★★★★

June 22, 2017

A fascinating journey through misogynistic scientists (the author is very apologetic about that, it's sweet) fumbling in the dark to discover just what DOES need to happen for a baby to be created. Mr. Dolnick's sharp wit (and oh, he has some zingers, I had to share his comment about Columbus 'di...


Stephanie rated it ★★★★☆

July 27, 2017

We take so much of our understanding of the world for granted, so it's really hard to remember that there was a time- a long, long, LONG time- when no one knew where babies came from. They knew that sex had something to do with it, but that's as far as it went clear up until around 150 years ago....


Riaz rated it ★★★★★

July 21, 2017

Excellent story about the process of scientific discovery, specifically here on how we determined the secret of fertilization over the centuries. Obviously better instrumentation is a key player, microscopes and their improvements. What stood out for me though was the importance of metaphors avai...


The Irregular Reader rated it ★★★★☆

June 03, 2017

For the entirety of our existence, we have wondered “where do babies come from?” Yet this question proved to be so incredibly complicated and intricate, that only in the last century and a half have we been able to discover answers with any sort of surety. Seeds of Life examines the scientific pu...


Larry rated it ★★★★★

September 04, 2017

Looking for science as mystery, travelogue, religious tract and comic set piece? "The Seeds of Life" has your number. This is a scientific (and even sexy) romp through the ages as Ed Dolnick leads us on an informative, witty, page-turning journey through biology, physics and bizarre human inquiry....


The Irregular Reader rated it ★★★★☆

June 03, 2017

For the entirety of our existence, we have wondered “where do babies come from?” Yet this question proved to be so incredibly complicated and intricate, that only in the last century and a half have we been able to discover answers with any sort of surety. Seeds of Life examines the scientific pu...


Sara rated it ★★★★☆

July 08, 2017

Where do babies come from? This is an exploration into the discoveries that lead to fertilization's discovery. Though I did find a few chapters a little tedious I think overall this book hit the mark. The author is very clear on not being judgmental on the lack of foresight of the scientists' cen...


David rated it ★★★★★

August 03, 2017

A wonder-filled, wonderfully-told narrative of the brilliant and befuddled people who, for thousands of years, tried to figure out how babies came into being, and why they often looked like both the mother & the father. Organized and grew in the womb from a few cells? No way! Sperm were paras...





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