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Guinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine (Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12) Hardcover – May 12, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 1100L (What's this?)
  • Series: Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (May 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805073167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805073164
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5 Up -Scientifically speaking, a "guinea pig" is a person who volunteers to serve as a subject in a scientific study. An easy and interesting read, this book describes 18th-century Italian scientist Lazzaro Spallanzani and his research on himself to explore digestion by swallowing food encapsulated in wooden tubes or cloth satchels and then analyzing the remains of the samples upon their exit from the intestinal tract. Gross enough to capture readers' attention, and startling enough to hold onto it, Spallanzani's story ends with a description of his discoveries and how many of his observations are still valid. Other topics describe guinea-pig scientists who tested internal body temperature in extreme heat and cold conditions, inhaled various gasses to discover one suitable for anesthetic uses (today's laughing gas), and seven more captivating narratives. Each chapter concludes with a list of facts derived from the work of these scientists, what they proposed and discovered, and what we now know about these topics. Black-and-white sketches and old photographs give these unbelievable stories a sense of realism. The book does not encourage young scientists to use themselves as guinea pigs, but these biographies are provocative with underpinnings of intrigue for discovering what is yet unknown.-Jodi Kearns, University of Akron, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 5-8. From hundreds of examples gathered during a decade of research, the authors offer 10 enthralling case studies of scientists from the past several centuries who became their own test subjects--with occasionally fatal results. The accounts are lively, compelling, and not always for the squeamish: Peruvian medical student Daniel Carrion and American Dr. Jesse Lazear inoculated themselves with deadly tropical diseases; Werner Forssman inserted a catheter into his arm and then pushed it up to his heart; John Paul Stapp rode a rocket car that went from more than 600 mph to a standstill in 1.4 seconds to test jet pilot safety gear; Lazzaro Spallanzani, who studied digestion, swallowed numerous things that you probably wouldn't. Aside from the Curies, most of the subjects will be new, even to a well-read audience, and though some of their achievements may seem quirky (to say the least), the authors cogently discuss each experiment's significance in advancing our understanding of science and medicine. Illustrated with a mix of period black-and-white photos and Mordan's nineteenth-century-style portraits, and with commentary on changing attitudes toward experimenting on animals threaded throughout, the episodes make riveting reading as well as vintage booktalk material. Resource lists, a time line, and endnotes are appended. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rachel M. Barnes on February 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Guinea Pig Scientists contains nine chapters, each on a different scientist who made a difference by plaicng themself in harm's way to varying degrees. The book is hardly in depth, but it covers the most important aspects of each scientists methods and what was learned from them. This would be a great book to use to get adolescents interested in scientific inquiry. It is an engaging read, and the gross out factor will bring in even reluctant readers. Be warned: not all of the scientists survive their experiments.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By blbooks on August 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
GUINEA PIG SCIENTISTS by Leslie Dendy and Mel Boring share with readers ten true stories of men and women who have been so dedicated to scientific research that they have experimented on themselves. These include George Fordyce, Lazzaro Spallanzani, William Morton, Horace Wells, Daniel Carrion, Jesse Lazear, Marie and Pierre Curie, John Scott and Jack Haldane, Werner Forssmann, John Paul Stapp, and Stefania Follini.

Each chapter includes several illustrations (sketchs, and/or photographs which are all captioned), several sidebars filled with additional information, and concludes with a "Now We Know" section which brings the research up to date. (The book is arranged chronologically).

Also included is "History's Timetable" which lists (starting in the 1500s) key scientists and discoveries up to the present day. Hoping to encourage further study, they have included other guinea pig scientists in italicized font throughout the timetable.

GUINEA PIG SCIENTISTS is well-documented. They list bibliographical references for each chapter in addition to providing bibliographical notes for each quotation. It is also indexed.

GUINEA PIG SCIENTISTS is a fascinating book. With chapter titles like "Swallowing Bags, Bones, and Tubes" "The Sad Story of Laughing Gas" and "The Night of the Deadly Blue Glow" it's sure to appeal to a wide variety of readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vijaya Bodach on November 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Guinea Pig Scientists is a wonderful introduction for putting a face and an exciting story behind a particular science. I expect many children (and adults) to go read further about different topics or the scientists because their appetites have finally been whetted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Guinea Pig Scientists might make for great supplementary reading in a middle school science class. Students might take note of the dedication, bravery, persistence and unparalleled ethics of the scientific pioneers featured in this book. Some efforts resulted in glory and fame, some resulted in ridicule and ostracism, and some ultimately ended in death. All efforts however resulted in enormous gain for science and mankind.

There is some fascinating information here like the scientist who withstood temperatures of 200 degrees. Incredibly some of the scientists featured in the stories lived to a hearty old age. Even I didn't know that polonium, discovered by Marie Curie, was named after her birth country of Poland.

The authors do a good job making complicated scientific topics understandable and gripping. A few illustrative graphics here and there expounding and clarifying some arcane concepts would have been welcome by this Potato Head.

In the closing comments the authors mention that some in the scientific community frown on self -experimentation, but it's a near necessity for astronauts, hampered by their numbers and their cramped quarters.

I had noticed a lack of diversity in the book's subjects. An author's note explains that self-experimentation had mostly been the province of male Europeans and that not many women experimenters could be found. Dendy and Boring do take pains to point out that people of all racial backgrounds, men and women both, conduct today's experiments.
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