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Discovering Life, Manufacturing Life

How the experimental method shaped life sciences

Authors: Vignais, Pierre V., Vignais, Paulette M.

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  • A fascinating account of the development of scientific knowledge from the Greek philosophers to the latest discoveries of the 21st Century
  • Highlights the crucial role of the experimental method, from the 17th century to its evolution in current scientific practices
  • Offers thoughtful reflections on the consequences of reproductive functions that contemporary researchers claim to manipulate and modify
  • Written in clear language that is free from biology or biochemistry jargon
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Buy this book

eBook $119.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-90-481-3767-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $199.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-90-481-3766-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $159.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-94-017-8203-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book tells the story of how thinkers, over time, have dared to explore using experimental devices and how the experimental method established itself and took a predominant role in the life sciences.

While life sciences continue to advance and knowledge becomes more widespread and accessible, philosophers now focus on problems of ethics particularly with respect to the reproductive functions that contemporary biology is able to manipulate and modify.

Looking at the stunning progress made by scientific thought over the last five centuries we might ask ourselves what were the triggering factors that lead to the experimental method. How did this logical and objective approach to the exploration of various enigmas in nature arise and spread at a particular moment in time in the western world? Was there an influence from the social, religious or political context? Was the energy of a few individuals sufficient to initiate such a revolution?

The authors of this book take us on journey of the mind, from the ancient roots of scientific rationality to today’s irresistible trend in genetic manipulation, particularly focused on human beings. Inevitably this will lead the reader to view the way in which science is done today under a new light. A fascinating discussion, based on concrete examples and experiments, provides food for thought, not only with respect to the experimental method itself, but also regarding the organization of science as it exists today and how it is perceived.

About the authors:

Pierre V. Vignais, a science doctor and a  doctor of medicine, was awarded a scholarship of the Fondation Roux at the Pasteur Institute of Paris. Professor emeritus of Biochemistry of the medical college of the University Joseph Fourier and director of a URA-CNRS at the CEA (French Atomic Energy Commission), he received the CNRS Silver Medal and the Grand Prix de l'Académie des Sciences. He died, aged 80, in  September 2006. 

Paulette M. Vignais, his wife, received her diploma in chemical engineering from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris (ENSCP) and obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Paris. She recently retired from a position of Emeritus director of Research at the CNRS where she directed a CNRS-CEA Unit at the CEA.

About the authors

Pierre VIGNAIS, was a science doctor, doctor of medicine, was treasurer of the Fondation Roux at the Pasteur Institute of Paris. Professor emeritus of Biochemistry of the medical college of the University Joseph Fourier and director of a URA-CNRS at the ECA. He died in September 2006 at the age of 80.

Both he and his wife Paulette published extensively and their contributions are highly regarded in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology and bioenergetics.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“A strikingly complete yet highly readable history of biomedical sciences, from BCE to the present, would be invaluable to scientists of all ages. In this well-written work translated from the original French version, accomplished biochemists Pierre Vignais … and Paulette Vignais (emer., CNRS, France) went one step further and painted a seamless picture of the evolution of the scientific method on a superb historical backdrop. … Summing Up: Highly recommended. Students of all levels, researchers/faculty, and professionals.” (B. D. Spiegelberg, Choice, Vol. 48 (5), January, 2011)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-6

    Vignais, Pierre V. (et al.)

  • The Roots of Experimental Science from Ancient Greece to the Renaissance

    Pages 7-47

    Vignais, Pierre V. (et al.)

  • The Birth of the Experimental Method in the 17th and 18th Centuries

    Pages 49-137

    Vignais, Pierre V. (et al.)

  • The Impact of Determinism in the Life Sciences of the 19th and 20th Centuries

    Pages 139-240

    Vignais, Pierre V. (et al.)

  • Challenges for Experimentation on Living Beings at the Dawn of the 21st Century

    Pages 241-345

    Vignais, Pierre V. (et al.)

Buy this book

eBook $119.00
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-90-481-3767-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $199.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-90-481-3766-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $159.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-94-017-8203-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Discovering Life, Manufacturing Life
Book Subtitle
How the experimental method shaped life sciences
Authors
Copyright
2010
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
eBook ISBN
978-90-481-3767-1
DOI
10.1007/978-90-481-3767-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-90-481-3766-4
Softcover ISBN
978-94-017-8203-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 418
Additional Information
English translation of "Science expérimentale et connaissance du vivant. La méthode et les concepts" by Pierre V. Vignais and Paulette Vignais, originally published by EDP Sciences, 2006
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