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Explores the political forces underlying shifts in thinking about the respective influence of heredity and environment in shaping human behavior, and the feasibility and morality of eugenics.
For most of the second half of the twentieth century, the United States and its allies competed with a hostile Soviet Union in almost every way imaginable except open military engagement. The Cold War placed two opposite conceptions of the good society before the uncommitted world and history itself, and science figured prominently in the picture. Competing with the Soviets offers a short, accessible introduction to the special role that science and technology played in maintaining state power during the Cold War, from the atomic bomb to the Human Genome Project. The high-tech machinery of nuclear physics and the space race are at the center of this story, but Audra J. Wolfe also examines the surrogate battlefield of scientific achievement in such diverse fields as urban planning, biology, and economics; explains how defense-driven federal investments created vast laboratories and research programs; and shows how unfamiliar worries about national security and corrosive questions of loyalty crept into the supposedly objective scholarly enterprise. Based on the assumption that scientists are participants in the culture in which they live, Competing with the Soviets looks beyond the debate about whether military influence distorted science in the Cold War. Scientists’ choices and opportunities have always been shaped by the ideological assumptions, political mandates, and social mores of their times. The idea that American science ever operated in a free zone outside of politics is, Wolfe argues, itself a legacy of the ideological Cold War that held up American science, and scientists, as beacons of freedom in contrast to their peers in the Soviet Union. Arranged chronologically and thematically, the book highlights how ideas about the appropriate relationships among science, scientists, and the state changed over time. -- Michael D. Gordin, Princeton University
Genesis: The Evolution of Biology presents a history of the past two centuries of biology, suitable for use in courses, but of interest more broadly to evolutionary biologists, geneticists, and biomedical scientists, as well as general readers interested in the history of science. The book covers the early evolutionary biologists-Lamarck, Cuvier, Darwin and Wallace through Mayr and the neodarwinian synthesis, in much the same way as other histories of evolution have done, bringing in also the social implications, the struggles with our religious understanding, and the interweaving of genetics into evolutionary theory. What is novel about Sapp's account is a real integration of the cytological tradition, from Schwann, Boveri, and the other early cell biologists and embryologists, and the coverage of symbiosis, microbial evolutionary phylogenies, and the new understanding of the diversification of life coming from comparative analyses of complete microbial genomes. The book is a history of theories about evolution, genes and organisms from Lamarck and Darwin to the present day. This is the first book on the general history of evolutionary biology to include the history of research and theories about symbiosis in evolution, and first to include research on microbial evolution which were excluded from the classical neo-Darwinian synthesis. Bacterial evolution, and symbiosis in evolution are also excluded from virtually every book on the history of biology.
Since emerging as a discipline in the middle of the eighteenth century, natural history has been at the heart of the life sciences. It gave rise to the major organizing theory of life—evolution—and continues to be a vital science with impressive practical value. Central to advanced work in ecology, agriculture, medicine, and environmental science, natural history also attracts enormous popular interest. In Finding Order in Nature Paul Farber traces the development of the naturalist tradition since the Enlightenment and considers its relationship to other research areas in the life sciences. Written for the general reader and student alike, the volume explores the adventures of early naturalists, the ideas that lay behind classification systems, the development of museums and zoos, and the range of motives that led collectors to collect. Farber also explores the importance of sociocultural contexts, institutional settings, and government funding in the story of this durable discipline. "The quest for insight into the order of nature leads naturalists beyond classification to the creation of general theories that explain the living world. Those naturalists who focus on the order of nature inquire about the ecological relationships among organisms and also among organisms and their surrounding environments. They ask fundamental questions of evolution, about how change actually occurs over short and long periods of time. Many naturalists are drawn, consequently, to deeper philosophical and ethical issues: What is the extent of our ability to understand nature? And, understanding nature, will we be able to preserve it? Naturalists question the meaning of the order they discover and ponder our moral responsibility for it."—from the Introduction
Here the development of nuclear weapons is viewed from the perspective of the scientist. From the discovery of fission to the Manhattan Project, to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the arms race and early steps toward arms control, this book provides a context for developments in the period 1939-1963. Lawrence Badash traces the course of this tumultuous and apocalyptic period with scientific clarity and sympathetic understanding.
Discusses the reckless annihilation of fish and birds by the use of pesticides and warns of the possible genetic effects on humans.

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