Viruses: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Dorothy H. Crawford

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192539728

Category: Medical

Page: 160

View: 8889

Viruses are big news. From pandemics such as HIV, to swine flu, and SARS, we are constantly being bombarded with information about new lethal infections. In this Very Short Introduction Dorothy Crawford demonstrates how clever these entities really are. From their discovery and the unravelling of their intricate structures, Crawford demonstrates how these tiny parasites are by far the most abundant life forms on the planet. With up to two billion of them in each litre of sea water, viruses play a vital role in controlling the marine environment, and are essential to the ocean's delicate ecosystem. In this fully updated edition, Crawford recounts stories of renowned killer viruses such as the recent Ebola and Zika epidemics, as well as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and considers the importance of air travel in facilitating the international spread of viruses in the twenty first century. Discussing the impact of global warming, which is increasing the range of vector-transmitted viruses such as dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus, she also considers the effect this will have on native populations in subtropical and temperate climates of the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. By examining our lifestyle in the 21st century, Crawford looks to the future to ask whether we can ever live in harmony with viruses, and considers the ways in which we may need to adapt to prevent emerging viruses with devastating consequences. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Bacteria: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Sebastian G. B. Amyes

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191654086

Category: Medical

Page: 144

View: 4595

Bacteria form a fundamental branch of life. They are the oldest forms of life as we know it, and they are still the most prolific living organisms. They inhabit every part of the Earth's surface, its ocean depths, and even terrains such as boiling hot springs. They are most familiar as agents of disease, but benign bacteria are critical to the recycling of elements and all ecology, as well as to human health. In this Very Short Introduction, Sebastian Amyes explores the nature of bacteria, their origin and evolution, bacteria in the environment, and bacteria and disease. In looking at our efforts to manage co-evolving bacteria, he also considers the challenges of resistance to antibiotics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Microbiology

A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Nicholas P. Money

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199681686

Category: Science

Page: 122

View: 8316

Describes the expansions of microbiology; it's methods, from traditional microscopy and laboratory culture to the latest genomic analysis.

Marine Biology: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Philip V. Mladenov

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199695059

Category: Science

Page: 156

View: 1455

In this Very Short Introduction, Philip Mladenov provides a fascinating overview of marine biology. Including a tour of marine life and marine processes that ranges from the polar oceans to tropical coral reefs, he outlines the principles of marine biology whilst demonstrating the fundamental impact humans have on the oceans and their ecology.

Viruses: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Dorothy H. Crawford

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191620432

Category: Medical

Page: 176

View: 9233

Viruses are big news. From pandemics such as HIV, swine flu, and SARS, we are constantly being bombarded with information about new lethal infections. In this Very Short Introduction Dorothy Crawford demonstrates how clever these entities really are. From their discovery and the unravelling of their intricate structures, Crawford demonstrates how these tiny parasites are by far the most abundant life forms on the planet. With up to two billion of them in each litre of sea water, viruses play a vital role in controlling the marine environment and are essential to the ocean's delicate ecosystem. Analyzing the threat of emerging virus infections, Crawford recounts stories of renowned killer viruses such as Ebola and rabies as well as the less known bat-borne Nipah and Hendra viruses. Pinpointing wild animals as the source of the most recent pandemics, she discusses the reasons behind the present increase in potentially fatal infections, as well as evidence suggesting that long term viruses can eventually lead to cancer. By examining our lifestyle in the 21st century, Crawford looks to the future to ask whether we can ever live in harmony with viruses, and considers the ways in which we may need to adapt to prevent emerging viruses with devastating consequences. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Epidemiology: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Rodolfo Saracci

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191609242

Category: Medical

Page: 160

View: 2684

What is epidemiology? What are the causes of a new disease? How can pandemics be prevented? Epidemiology is the study of the changing patterns of disease and its main aim is to improve the health of populations. It's a vital field, central to the health of society, to the identification of causes of disease, and to their management and prevention. Epidemiology has had an impact on many areas of medicine; from discovering the relationship between tobacco smoking and lung cancer, to the origin and spread of new epidemics. However, it is often poorly understood, largely due to misrepresentations in the media. In this Very Short Introduction Rodolfo Saracci dispels some of the myths surrounding the study of epidemiology. He provides a general explanation of the principles behind clinical trials, and explains the nature of basic statistics concerning disease. He also looks at the ethical and political issues related to obtaining and using information concerning patients, and trials involving placebos. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Andrew Robinson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199567786

Category: History

Page: 157

View: 8920

Writing is a defining marker of civilisation; without it there could be no accumulation of knowledge. Andrew Robinson tells the fascinating story of the history of writing, considering its development, and examining the enormous variety of writing and scripts we use today.

Infectious Disease

A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Marta Wayne,Benjamin M. Bolker

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199688931

Category: Medical

Page: 144

View: 608

As doctors and biologists have learned, to their dismay, infectious disease is a moving target: new diseases emerge every year, old diseases evolve into new forms, and ecological and socioeconomic upheavals change the transmission pathways by which disease spread. By taking an approach focused on the general evolutionary and ecological dynamics of disease, this Very Short Introduction provides a general conceptual framework for thinking about disease. Ecology and evolution provide the keys to answering the "where", "why", "how", and "what" questions about any particular infectious disease: where did it come from? How is it transmitted from one person to another, and why are some individuals more susceptible than others? What biochemical, ecological, and evolutionary strategies can be used to combat the disease? Is it more effective to block transmission at the population level, or to block infection at the individual level? Through a series of case studies, Benjamin Bolker and Marta L. Wayne introduce the major ideas of infectious disease in a clear and thoughtful way, emphasizing the general principles of infection, the management of outbreaks, and the evolutionary and ecological approaches that are now central to much research about infectious disease. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Rivers: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Nick Middleton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199588678

Category: Nature

Page: 127

View: 6050

Rivers have played an extraordinarily important role in creating the world in which we live. They create landscapes and provide water to people, plants and animals, nourishing both town and country. The flow of rivers has enthused poets and painters, explorers and pilgrims. Rivers have acted as cradles for civilization and agents of disaster; a river may be a barrier or a highway, it can bear trade and sediment, culture and conflict. A river may inspire or it may terrify. This Very Short Introduction is a celebration of rivers in all their diversity. Nick Middleton covers a wide and eclectic range of river-based themes, from physical geography to mythology, to industrial history and literary criticism. Worshipped and revered, respected and feared, rivers reflect both the natural and social history of our planet. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Drugs

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Author: Les Iversen

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198745796

Category:

Page: 144

View: 4508

The twentieth century saw a remarkable upsurge of research on drugs, with major advances in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections, heart disease, stomach ulcers, cancer, and metal illnesses. These, along with the introduction of the oral contraceptive, have altered all of our lives. There has also been an increase in the recreational use and abuse of drugs in the Western world. This Very Short Introduction, in its second edition, gives a non-technical account of how drugs work in the body. Reviewing both legal (alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine) and illegal drugs, Les Iversen disscusses why some are addictive, and whether drug laws need reform. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Agriculture: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Paul Brassley,Richard Soffe

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198725965

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 144

View: 6258

Agriculture, one of the oldest human occupations, is practised all over the world, using techniques ranging from the profoundly traditional to the most scientifically advanced. Without it we would starve. Yet how many of us understand what is happening in the fields that we see as we drive through the countryside? How often do we think about the origins of the food in our trolley? In this Very Short Introduction Paul Brassley and Richard Soffe explain what farmers do and why they do it. Beginning with the most basic resource, the soil, they show why it is important, and how farmers can increase its productivity, before turning to the plants and animals that grow on it, and tracing the connections between their biology and the various ways in which farmers work with them. The authors conclude by looking at some of the controversial issues facing contemporary agriculture: its sustainability; its impact on wildlife and landscape; issues of animal welfare; and the affect of climate change and the development of genetically modified organisms on farmers. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Complexity

A Very Short Introduction

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Author: John H. Holland

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199662541

Category: History

Page: 95

View: 4008

In this Very Short Introduction, John Holland presents an introduction to the science of complexity. Using examples from biology and economics, he shows how complexity science models the behaviour of complex systems.

Networks: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Guido Caldarelli,Michele Catanzaro

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199588074

Category: Computers

Page: 122

View: 5926

Networks are involved in many aspects of everyday life, from food webs in ecology and the spread of pandemics to social networking and public transport. This Very Short Introduction explores the basics of network theory to understand the science of complexity and its importance, using examples from nature, technology, and society, and history.

Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: David Miller

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191577863

Category: Philosophy

Page: 160

View: 7544

This book introduces readers to the concepts of political philosophy. It starts by explaining why the subject is important and how it tackles basic ethical questions such as 'how should we live together in society?' It looks at political authority, the reasons why we need politics at all, the limitations of politics, and whether there are areas of life that shouldn't be governed by politics. It explores the connections between political authority and justice, a constant theme in political philosophy, and the ways in which social justice can be used to regulate rather than destroy a market economy. David Miller discusses why nations are the natural units of government and whether the rise of multiculturalism and transnational co-operation will change this: will we ever see the formation of a world government? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Genomics: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: John M. Archibald

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191089478

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 9995

Genomics has transformed the biological sciences. From epidemiology and medicine to evolution and forensics, the ability to determine an organism's complete genetic makeup has changed the way science is done and the questions that can be asked of it. Its most celebrated achievement was the Human Genome Project, a technologically challenging endeavor that took thousands of scientists around the world 13 years and over 3 billion US dollars to complete. In this Very Short Introduction John Archibald explores the science of genomics and its rapidly expanding toolbox. Sequencing a human genome now takes only a few days and costs as little as $1,000. The genomes of simple bacteria and viruses can be sequenced in a matter of hours on a device that fits in the palm of your hand. The resulting sequences can be used to better understand our biology in health and disease and to 'personalize' medicine. Archibald shows how the field of genomics is on the cusp of another quantum leap; the implications for science and society are profound. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Crystallography: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: A. M. Glazer

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019102712X

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 2195

Crystals have fascinated us for centuries with their beauty and symmetry, and have often been invested with magical powers. The use of X-ray diffraction, first pioneered in 1912 by father and son William and Lawrence Bragg, enabled us to probe the structure of molecules, and heralded the scientific study of crystals, leading to an understanding of their atomic arrangements at a fundamental level. The new discipline, called X-ray crystallography, has subsequently evolved into a formidable science that underpins many other scientific areas. Starting from the determination of the structures of very simple crystals, such as that of common salt, today it has become almost routine to determine the positions of tens of thousands of atoms in a crystal. In this Very Short Introduction Mike Glazer shows how the discoveries in crystallography have been applied to the creation of new and important materials, to drugs and pharmaceuticals and to our understanding of genetics, cell biology, proteins, and viruses. Tracing the history of crystallography, he analyses astonishing developments in new sources of X-rays, as well as of neutrons, and in electron microscopy, and considers the impact they have on the study of crystals today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Economics: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Partha Dasgupta

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191578281

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 192

View: 7615

Economics has the capacity to offer us deep insights into some of the most formidable problems of life, and offer solutions to them too. Combining a global approach with examples from everyday life, Partha Dasgupta describes the lives of two children who live very different lives in different parts of the world: in the Mid-West USA and in Ethiopia. He compares the obstacles facing them, and the processes that shape their lives, their families, and their futures. He shows how economics uncovers these processes, finds explanations for them, and how it forms policies and solutions. Along the way, Dasgupta provides an intelligent and accessible introduction to key economic factors and concepts such as individual choices, national policies, efficiency, equity, development, sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, property rights, markets, and public goods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Animal Kingdom: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Peter Holland

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191620491

Category: Nature

Page: 144

View: 3359

The animal world is immensely diverse, and our understanding of it has been greatly enhanced by analysis of DNA and the study of evolution and development ('evo-devo'). In this Very Short Introduction Peter Holland presents a modern tour of the animal kingdom. Beginning with the definition of animals (not obvious in biological terms), he takes the reader through the high-level groupings of animals (phyla) and new views on their evolutionary relationships based on molecular data, together with an overview of the biology of each group of animals. The phylogenetic view is central to zoology today and the volume will be of great value to all students of the life sciences, as well as providing a concise summary for the interested general reader. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Numbers: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Peter M. Higgins

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199584052

Category: Mathematics

Page: 132

View: 2025

In this Very Short Introduction Peter M. Higgins presents an overview of the number types featured in modern science and mathematics. Providing a non-technical account, he explores the evolution of the modern number system, examines the fascinating role of primes, and explains their role in contemporary cryptography.

Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction

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Author: Ben Hutchinson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192533991

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 160

View: 3766

Comparative Literature is both the past and the future of literary studies. Its history is intimately linked to the political upheavals of modernity: from colonial empire-building in the nineteenth century, via the Jewish diaspora of the twentieth century, to the postcolonial culture wars of the twenty-first century, attempts at 'comparison' have defined the international agenda of literature. But what is comparative literature? Ambitious readers looking to stretch themselves are usually intrigued by the concept, but uncertain of its implications. And rightly so, in many ways: even the professionals cannot agree on a single term, calling it comparative in English, compared in French, and comparing in German. The very term itself, when approached comparatively, opens up a Pandora's box of cultural differences. Yet this, in a nutshell, is the whole point of comparative literature. To look at literature comparatively is to realize just how much can be learned by looking over the horizon of one's own culture; it is to discover not only more about other literatures, but also about one's own; and it is to participate in the great utopian dream of understanding the way nations and languages interact. In an age that is paradoxically defined by migration and border crossing on the one hand, and by a retreat into monolingualism and monoculturalism on the other, the cross-cultural agenda of comparative literature has become increasingly central to the future of the Humanities. We are all, in fact, comparatists, constantly making connections across languages, cultures, and genres as we read. The question is whether we realise it. This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Comparative Literature as an agent of international relations, from the point of view both of scholarship and of cultural history more generally. Outlining the complex history and competing theories of comparative literature, Ben Hutchinson offers an accessible means of entry into a notoriously slippery subject, and shows how comparative literature can be like a Rorschach test, where people see in it what they want to see. Ultimately, Hutchinson places comparative literature at the very heart of literary criticism, for as George Steiner once noted, 'to read is to compare'. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.