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The Camel's Nose: Memoirs Of A Curious Scientist Hardcover – May 1, 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As one of the 20th century's foremost animal physiologists, Schmidt-Nielsen, professor emeritus at Duke University, had a major impact on how questions are asked and answered by modern biologists. Over the course of his stellar career, Schmidt-Nielsen has consistently probed the evolutionary adaptations that animals have made to their environment, most often focusing on odd animals in extreme conditions. It was he who demonstrated how behavior and physiology come together to enable the kangaroo rat to survive extreme desert temperatures without drinking any water. He also showed that the camel's nose is actually a well-developed organ designed to ensure that only minuscule amounts of moisture are lost during respiration. Schmidt-Nielsen is at his finest when describing many of the numerous experiments he has undertaken in locations as varied as the Brazilian rain forest, Arctic islands and an oasis in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Through his tales, he imparts a great deal of noteworthy biological information as well as insight into the scientific process. His scant autobiographical material suffers from a competent but dry prose style as well as from an apparent reluctance to probe beneath the surface of his emotional life. Despite the unevenness, however, there is much here to delight those interested in science, as Schmidt-Nielsen's enthusiasm for investigating how organisms make their way in the world proves thoroughly contagious. Editor: Laurie Burnham.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This is a well-written and engaging autobiography of one of the world's most prominent animal physiologists. In his quest for answers to seemingly simple questions, such as how camels can go for days without water, the now 83-year-old Schmidt-Nielsen (James B. Duke Professor of Physiology at Duke) has traveled all over the globe, working in such diverse locations as the Sahara Desert, Australia, and the Arctic Circle. Along with the account of his more than five decades of research and expeditions, the author reveals his personal life. Starting with his childhood in Scandinavia, where he grew up in a family of scientists, Schmidt-Nielsen recalls his early career and the power of love later in life. If you have watched Marlin Perkins or ever enjoyed a nature or wildlife show, you will enjoy this book. Recommended for all public libraries and academic institutions collecting biographical works of scientists.?James Olson, Northeastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Chicago
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559635126
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559635127
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,503,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Schmidt-Nielsen's book, "The Camel's Nose..." is a history of science in the 20th C., a textbook on physiology, and a personal journal. From the first page I was as fascinated with his research subjects as he was! It was refreshing to learn of a time when personal curiosity and professional work were not at odds with each other, but worked to create the best possible research and a happy life. Schmidt-Nielsen believes that scientific literature should not be convoluted, and his memoirs follow this rule. I highly recommend this book to anyone who still has their childhood curiosity about how non-human animals work! A science degree is not necessary to be totally enthralled by his work and life.
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Format: Hardcover
As an ecologist, I knew little of Prof. Schmidt- Nielsen's research. However, I was impressed by three aspects of his autobiography:
1. He showed that research in the field or the lab can be a real adventure.
2. His approach to research was a strong combination of observation and humane experiment- ation.
3. He is a scientist who can write clearly, with no reliance on jargon used only by scientists in his profession.
This is a book I recommend to scientists, budding scientists, and anyone curious about the way scientists live and love!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So excited to read this book about an important Duke zoologist, and shipping was super easy. The book is a balance of science and autobiography.
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