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Thread: Your Favourite Biology Book(s) Topic

  1. #1 Your Favourite Biology Book(s) Topic 
    Forum Freshman Molecular's Avatar
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    I am a latecomer to biology. Infact, I am reletively new to reading anything at all. I hadn't read any kind of book off my own back all my life until late 2007 and I am now almost 23. I feel like I have missed out on a lot of things and would like to try and 'catch up'. I see a lot of pretty knowledgeable people with hilariously wry humor on this forum and I want some of that for myself!

    I can almost count all the books I have read on one hand:
    1. The ancestors tale
    2. The origin of species
    3. The selfish gene (on the last chapter)
    4. East african running
    5. A brief history of time
    6. The god delusion

    What I am looking for is for people to perhaps post their favourite popular science or just interesting biology or life science related books. My next book is another Dawkins book called the Blind Watchmaker. I have enjoyed Dawkins but would like something from another author. Right, im going to polish off the selfish gene. Ill check in on you guys later.


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    You might also like the Blind Watchmaker if you liked the other two by Dawkins. You can find/ask about/review those and others here.

    Also check out the fabric of the cosmos, by greene. I liked it better than Hawking's book.


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    (In order of current preference..changes every week..these are my current favorite science books )

    1. Survival of the Sickest by Sharon Maoleem

    2. Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane

    3. The Link by Colin Tudge

    4. Phantoms in the Brain by VS Ramachandran

    5. Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters by Donald Prothero

    6. The Red Queen by Ridley

    7. Genome by Ridley

    8. Four Laws that Drive the Universe by Peter Atkins

    9. The Brain that Changes Itself by Doidge

    10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

    11. The Naked Brain by Richard Restak

    12. The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions by Sternberg

    13. Your Inner Fish by Shubin

    14. The Mind's I by Hofstader and Dennett

    15. At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs by Carl Zimmer

    16. Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer

    17. The Making of the Fittest by Sean Carroll

    18: Evolution: the 1st 4 Billion Years by by Michael Ruse, Joseph Travis, and Edward O. Wilson

    19. The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending

    20. A Brief History of Time by Hawking

    21. The Real Science behind the X-Files by Anne Simon

    22. Electric Universe: How Electricity Switched on the Modern World by David Bodanis
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    One suggestion i'd make is, rather than just checking out these books, check out some actual papers and journals on topics that interest you (or even just abstracts that catch your eye).

    It's a whole new experience to read literature geared towards those in the field rather that that geared to the public. It's an admittedly more difficult (and occasionally drier) read, but being able to read, understand and interpret a paper is a useful skill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deschain
    One suggestion i'd make is, rather than just checking out these books, check out some actual papers and journals on topics that interest you (or even just abstracts that catch your eye).

    It's a whole new experience to read literature geared towards those in the field rather that that geared to the public. It's an admittedly more difficult (and occasionally drier) read, but being able to read, understand and interpret a paper is a useful skill.
    Since I plan to go into medical research, I'm sure I will have many an opportunity to do so in the future Sir. On occasion I do now, yet I grudgingly admit that I enjoy the hyperbolic way in which things are presented to the general public. Makes things more exciting.
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    River Out of Eden (Dawkins) was the book that probably launched my interest in biology. It's pretty obviously geared toward people who are looking for an introduction to biology/ToE. In my opinion, that's probably why it's one of the best
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Quote Originally Posted by Deschain
    One suggestion i'd make is, rather than just checking out these books, check out some actual papers and journals on topics that interest you (or even just abstracts that catch your eye).

    It's a whole new experience to read literature geared towards those in the field rather that that geared to the public. It's an admittedly more difficult (and occasionally drier) read, but being able to read, understand and interpret a paper is a useful skill.
    Since I plan to go into medical research, I'm sure I will have many an opportunity to do so in the future Sir. On occasion I do now, yet I grudgingly admit that I enjoy the hyperbolic way in which things are presented to the general public. Makes things more exciting.
    if you want to go into medical research make sure you just go for a medical degree.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Quote Originally Posted by Deschain
    One suggestion i'd make is, rather than just checking out these books, check out some actual papers and journals on topics that interest you (or even just abstracts that catch your eye).

    It's a whole new experience to read literature geared towards those in the field rather that that geared to the public. It's an admittedly more difficult (and occasionally drier) read, but being able to read, understand and interpret a paper is a useful skill.
    Since I plan to go into medical research, I'm sure I will have many an opportunity to do so in the future Sir. On occasion I do now, yet I grudgingly admit that I enjoy the hyperbolic way in which things are presented to the general public. Makes things more exciting.
    if you want to go into medical research make sure you just go for a medical degree.
    What do you mean? I am planning on getting a degree in Bio and then maybe getting a Ph.D or something.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    It is easier to do medical research if you are a medical doctor. You are a shit researcher of course, but maybe you have to think about the future. It's extremely difficult to stay in science as a PhD. Not as a medical doctor though. Plenty of assistant professor/professor position that prefer a medical doctor. And even when you don't want those, you can just work part time as a doctor and fuck around doing something silly the rest of the time and call it research.

    trust me. Career options are very narrow for simple research PhDs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    It is easier to do medical research if you are a medical doctor. You are a shit researcher of course, but maybe you have to think about the future. It's extremely difficult to stay in science as a PhD. Not as a medical doctor though. Plenty of assistant professor/professor position that prefer a medical doctor. And even when you don't want those, you can just work part time as a doctor and fuck around doing something silly the rest of the time and call it research.

    trust me. Career options are very narrow for simple research PhDs.
    The only problem is that I'll never be able to afford med school...
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    It is easier to do medical research if you are a medical doctor. You are a shit researcher of course, but maybe you have to think about the future. It's extremely difficult to stay in science as a PhD. Not as a medical doctor though. Plenty of assistant professor/professor position that prefer a medical doctor. And even when you don't want those, you can just work part time as a doctor and fuck around doing something silly the rest of the time and call it research.

    trust me. Career options are very narrow for simple research PhDs.
    Hmm..what options would a have with a Bio degree alone (no PhD or MD)?
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    I'm a bit of an addict when it comes to popularized science outside of my field (geology and paleontology). Whether today or 40 years ago I still get a rush when the new Scientific American arrives.

    Many of the books I've enjoyed are mentioned above. My only advice is to do a Google search and find some peer reviews of the publications. Read what those steeped in the particular discipline have to say.

    I also agree with searching out journals. Some will be readable while others might as well be written in a foreign language. Skip the tedious abstract...go right to the introduction and then the conclusions...if your interest is peaked then read the article all the way through. Unfortunately many will be no more than tedium ad nauseum.

    Two essentials for those interested in human biological and social evolution are:

    The Naked Ape: Desmond Morris
    Territorial Imperative: Robert Ardrey

    Both of these books have much to be disputed but they are the essentials that folks like Dawkins, Richard Leakey, Wilson and so on would have had on their desk in younger days. These two books shaped much of the debate as to man's position in Nature.
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    I liked the Orgin of Species I found it well written, easy to follow and concidered essintial by many. I also would reccomend The Cartoon Guide to Gentics though can't remember the authors names at the moment. for more advanced stuff I genrally like oxford press and Prentice hall if you don't have the patience for reading though research papers. Dawkins is okay I guess but I think he has been going down hill since The Blind Watchmaker but I find this topic is highly subjective.
    sorry I was gone so long, there are just to many undereducated people here I did not want to add to the problem but I am going to anyway
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    It is easier to do medical research if you are a medical doctor. You are a shit researcher of course, but maybe you have to think about the future. It's extremely difficult to stay in science as a PhD. Not as a medical doctor though. Plenty of assistant professor/professor position that prefer a medical doctor. And even when you don't want those, you can just work part time as a doctor and fuck around doing something silly the rest of the time and call it research.

    trust me. Career options are very narrow for simple research PhDs.
    Can I get financial aid for grad school? I could tutor part-time for money and work in a small lab making $40,000 a year and be relatively happy. Hell, it's better than the grocery store I currently work at...that way I'd have time to possibly save up money for med school (as I live with my dad and don't pay rent).
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    what do you mean? Here people get wages if they are in grad school.
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    I'm not sure grad students get payed in Europe.

    Also, I've always wondered if grad students in the arts got payed. After all, in science you're working several hours a day in the lab. I don't really know what MAs are up to, but I imagine it involves libraries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    what do you mean? Here people get wages if they are in grad school.
    Where do you live? I'm in Charlotte, NC USA...I've never heard of getting wages for attending college at any level...only reimbursement in isolated cases...
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    what do you mean? Here people get wages if they are in grad school.
    Where do you live? I'm in Charlotte, NC USA...I've never heard of getting wages for attending college at any level...only reimbursement in isolated cases...
    Grad students in the sciences usually get wages for being a research assistant. The higher end schools will give you stipends to live off and may even wave tuition fees.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    what do you mean? Here people get wages if they are in grad school.
    Where do you live? I'm in Charlotte, NC USA...I've never heard of getting wages for attending college at any level...only reimbursement in isolated cases...
    Grad students in the sciences usually get wages for being a research assistant. The higher end schools will give you stipends to live off and may even wave tuition fees.
    Holy fark..are you sure they do that in NC? Where do u live? Montreal? If so, that may not apply to me..
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    I've scoured the web (yes. in 5 minutes..lol) and found that yes, some graduate students recieve stipends..I'm unsure if they all do though...
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    I did graduate degrees at McGill (Montreal) and University of Calgary and rec'd funds as a research associate. Grad fees were low and waved by the geology departments in lieu of teaching. The only out of pocket money were student fees and grad house social fees.

    I actually left McGill with a nice chunk of cash saved over 5 years from provincial bursaries. In Calgary energy companies were quite generous with support for geology students. They financed trips to conferences, etc. I went to Finland one year and to Cuba another. They also provided summer employment and a foot in the door at graduation. I did a couple years in the military and they kept a place open for me afterwards.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    You get around 1.200 per month (tax free) for a simple grant based PhD here.
    If you get a proper salary (for instance if you member of a graduate school) you get more.
    If you are a Marie Curie grad student it is above 2000 per month. Not sure how much, they are all a bit secretive about it. Plus lots of travel money you can use to go home and such. That mobility crap and all.
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