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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

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 12
  • 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 (June 1, 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: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,055,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This well designed book is aimed at junior high/high school readers, but is really good for anyone interested in science and scientists. It treats, with copious quotations and illustrations, the many scientists that used themselves as test subjects, injecting themselves with diseases, using themselves as crash test dummies, breathing and handling all kinds of dangerous substances, sometimes with fatal consequences. We all benefit from their courage (and foolhardiness?) in the interest of science. Interesting, and well told. Very positive.
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