Posted by: biblioglobal | January 19, 2017

The wonder of (popular) science

27213168Good popular science writing is such an amazing thing! I’m currently reading I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong which is all about the close relationship between animals and microbes. (If you were wondering, it’s from the new and shiny end of my TBR list.) As it happens, I’m familiar with a lot of the science in it from my work as a scientist. But reading it in the context of a popular science book really helps give me a new appreciation for the wonder of it. For how amazing the ways are that animals and microbes have evolved together and affect each other and communicate with each other. Don’t get me wrong, a good scientific paper can be inspiring too. But sometimes popular science can really show the bigger picture and the poetry of it all.

Did you know that your left hand and right hand host distinctly different bacterial communities? Or that the bacteria in your mouth are more similar to the bacteria in my mouth than the bacteria on your nose? If not, you have fascinating discoveries in store for you!

I’m also glad to discover that this book (at least so far) is as good as I expected because I gave it to my mother for Christmas without having read it myself!


  1. I read this one not long ago and really enjoyed it. Glad to hear someone who actually works as a scientist is enjoying it too because that means it really is as well done as I thought it was 🙂

    • It is indeed well done. I’m liking the way he is emphasizing that the old “microbes are bad” paradigm is wrong, but that “microbes are good” isn’t correct either. They are simply organisms looking out for their own interests and sometimes that aligns with ours and sometimes it doesn’t.

      • Yes! I liked that too! Nicely balanced 🙂

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