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Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival First ediito Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520234208
ISBN-10: 0520234200
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In seven excellent chapters, Ashcroft describes life at extreme elevation, under the pressure of ocean depths, at high temperature, at low temperature, at high (but self-propelled) speed, in space, and at the very limits of physical conditions for any kind of life."--"Choice

About the Author

Frances Ashcroft is Professor of Physiology at Oxford University and a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. She is author of Insulin (1992) and Ion Channels and Disease (2000).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 347 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First ediito edition (March 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520234200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520234208
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have always been fascinated with this topic, and this book opened my eyes to all kinds of interesting aspects of adaptation of animals (especially humans) to extreme conditions. Particularly interesting to me were the chapters on altitude and depth. Examples and sidebars were well chosen and well explained. I have used information from the book in lectures to students of physiology. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This book appealed to my inner nerd, and helped me understand from a physiological standpoint what is happening during when the body is put to the extreme test. It doesn't talk about when people are placed in extreme situations, which was the part I found pretty deceptive. But Dr. Ashcroft is an anatomy professor - that should have been my big clue. Still, a good read if you've got an interest in anatomy and physiology.
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Format: Paperback
Fascinating topic, however the book has a surprising number of technical errors which detract significantly from the enjoyment of reading it since I find myself having to factcheck all the time!

For example:

During the discussion of hemoglobin, the author refers to met-hemoglobin causing the color of aged meat. I don't think this is simply a typographic error since the discussion is actually about hemoglobin but the color change of meat is due to metmyoglobin a related but distinct oxygen binding protein in muscle.

The high, squeaky voice with helium is NOT due to the vocal chords vibrating faster as the author states but rather because the speed of sound in helium is about 3 times faster than in air and therefore the frequency is about 3 times higher.

Sweating is primarily stimulated by a cholinergic system NOT by and adrenergic system.

People with cystic fibrosis ARE able to sweat, contrary to what the author states. Rather the salt content of their sweat is significantly abnormal.

"In hoofed animals...the bones of the feet are fused together for strength to create a hoof." This is false. In some hoofed animals metatarsal or metacarpal bones can fuse to form a single bone, however, even in such animals like deer the toes remain separate and have their own distinct hooves.

Another truly bizarre error is the reference to "bleach, a mild form of hydrochloric acid..." Common bleach, sodium hypochlorite, has the formula NaClO and often has sodium hydroxide, NaOH mixed with it. This is quite different from hydrochloric acid, HCl.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very informative, lots of details on Physiology of Human Explorers, and is very well written. She is very very historical
also...
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Format: Paperback
This is an incredible collection of knowledge. Share this with everyone! The amount of information you never thought to think about is amazing! Who knew that the amount of time spent in microgravity is proportional to the amount of muscle and bone loss in an individual. Science Fiction be damned!! I think I will "pass" on the kidney and bone integrity deficiencies. What an eye opener!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a fascinating read! Brilliantly written, easy-to-understand, and gives a perspective on the human body from various angles.

I have studied medicine, and even in our course, did we not get as much context & story behind the development of our understanding of the human body, as I found in this book. Even so, it has been written in a language that can be understood by anyone, without dumbing down the information.

We are truly a magnificent design!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Almost finished reading this book. It's "extremely" informative and interesting. The author has a captivating style that keeps you turning the pages. Illustrations and captions add even more information. Temperatures are in Celcius, so keep a conversion calculator handy if you're used to Fahrenheit. She covers not only the human extremes (and why we're affected) but other life forms at extremes. Perhaps not for everyone, so try the sample first.
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