Seeds of Life

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

Book - 2017
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"By the end of the seventeenth century, explorers had circled the globe and mapped the heavens. Scientists had calculated the weight of the Earth, traced the paths of comets, and divined the secrets of the Milky Way. But at the dawn of the modern age, the deeper scientific riddle of all lay unsolved: Where do babies come from? 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—a mystery that would take centuries of wild theories, misogynist blunders, and mistakes to solve. The author investigates the early scientists who sought answers. The author’s investigation careens from theaters of anatomy, where spectators gawked at dissected bodies; to princes’ private museums; to a seaside laboratory in Naples, Italy where a researcher peered into his microscope and first witnessed the union of sperm and egg. The author also introduces a Danish physician who began by studying sharks’ teeth and ended by finding the secret of human eggs. Another researcher, who was a Catholic priest, outfitted male frogs in tiny boxer shorts to prove that semen had to touch eggs to fertilize them. This book presents our greatest scientists struggling—against their perceptions, their religious beliefs, and their deep-seated prejudices—to uncover the deepest mysteries of life."—Book cover
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, [2017]
ISBN: 9780465082957
Characteristics: ix, 309 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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