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Microcosmos: Discovering The World Through Microscopic Images From 20 X to Over 22 Million X Magnification Paperback – September 16, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Weird and wonderful. (London Daily Mail 2010-10-11)

Gorgeous! The photos are really amazing, everything from bones to chocolate ice cream to mushroom spores. It's great eye candy for any photography lover. (superfastreader.com 2010-11-10)

Microcosmos takes readers into a secret world of extreme close-ups...The book charters a voyage through a miniature world showing the unlikeliest parts of our lives in minuscule detail. (Graham Smith The Daily Mail Online 2010-10-09)

[Review of hardcover edition:] An amazing array of shapes and textures that would be the envy of Joan Miró. (Alexander Theroux The Wall Street Journal)

Here are things you may think you have seen, such as rocks or plants, as well as parts of the human body, magnified to show you things you couldn't have seen. Folic acid and mescaline are amazing--even far out-in their colours and details. (Bill Robertson Halifax Star Phoenix 2010-12-18)

[Review of hardcover edition:] Visually stunning ... Anyone who is interested in seeing how things appear when magnified will find Microcosmos fascinating.... Recommended. (Barbara McMillan, Faculty of Education, University Canadian Materials, Vol 114(7), University of Mani 2007-11-23)

[Review of hardcover edition:] Hundreds of extremely magnified images such as botanicals, minerals and insects, transport the reader into another world.... Who knew morning glory could look so interesting! (Chicago Sun-Times 2008-12-14)

[Review of hardcover edition:] [A] visually arresting collection ... Broil's informative text highlights the noteworthy features of each image. (Pacific Shipper (Long Beach, CA) 2007-11-05)

[Review of hardcover edition:] This volume is an extremely well-produced collection of colorized micrographs that are technically good and quite interesting.... The captions are informative as written and do much to enhance the value of the book. I recommend Brandon Broll's Microcosmos highly. (Richard M. Jamison, emeritus, [micrographer] Louis Science Books and Films 2008-02-01)

[Review of hardcover edition:] Visually arresting collection... provides examples of SEM images from a wide variety of sources.. informative text highlights the noteworthy feature of each image. (Science News 2007-11-03)

[Review of hardcover edition:] A journey into everydy life through spectacular microscopic images... 205 extraordinary full-color photos. (The New Hampshire Union Leader 2007-12-12)

At first glance, Brandon Broll's Microcosmos is a coffee table book; open it and lush photographs spring out at you... Enhancing each photo is a short informative paragraph packed with biological terms. You could almost put together a Coles Notes version of a Bio 101 course from the collected content.... Use this book to draw heretofore resistant high school or university students into microscience, or gift it to that hard-to-buy-for scientist. (Green Teacher 2014-07-01)

About the Author

Brandon Broll is a journalist specializing in science and medicine who has published stories on subjects as diverse as brain-mapping and crash-test dummies. His work has appeared in international publications, such as Reader's Digest and the Guardian, and he has been the editor or science consultant on many books.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (September 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554077141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554077144
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading through this book was a frustrating experience. After every page I wanted more... but not in a complementary way. I was left feeling like with just a bit more effort, this could have been really great book.

The photos, are of course, the main event here. They're fascinating to look at, and some are quite beautiful. But the accompanying text feels like it goes out of its way to be unhelpful. It alternates between dropping unexplained, non sequitur factoids ("In the extreme corners of the stem, the best position mechanically, small collenchyma cells are visible"), and a rote listing of textbook labels ("The xylem and phloem are surrounded by a ring of parenchyma cells.").

I suppose I was hoping for an pithy synopsis of each image, from an expert--a botanist, biologist, or a materials scientist--but one gets the impression that an intern was hired to copy random paragraphs from wikipedia for the accompanying text.

So the words are forgettable, but who cares, the pictures are pretty, right? Except the decision was made to limit every image to half the page, leaving the other half for explanatory text (which is never more than one paragraph) and thus mostly empty! Why would you do that?!

There is always a large magnification label (e.g., 1000X) but no real sense of scale is ever given. This could have been easily done with an inset image of the subject zoomed out, or with an introductory chapter giving familiar examples for scale comparison, or with measurement overlays, or any number of ways. People are really bad at conceptualizing exponential scale; just listing the magnification power isn't really sufficient.

So, this makes a great coffee table book, but if you're looking for more depth, you'll need to find it elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Affordable price, excellent photos, good color printing. Regrettably, the type of binding -- glue -- is unlikely to last many years before it dries out and starts falling apart. I guess that is the downside of the afforable price!
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There are not many books with microscopic images on Amazon: bearing that in mind this book would deserve an extra star, it is divided on sections each with a subject, minerals, plants, human body etc.. The frustating thing is the lack of care on the books design, each page is half blank with few big O letters on what the pic is about: more text would be welcome as pointed out by another reviewer...either this or to blow up the picture to frame the whole page, the description line would be fine on the margin.

On the end the book could be half on size that would make no difference.

Nice pictures though.
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I bought this as a gift for an 11 yr old smart girl who loves reading books but she got tired of it pretty quickly. IMHO it would have been nice to add some interesting details about each photo.
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Format: Paperback
MICROCOSMOS is a feast for the eyes. This is the second edition (this time in paperback) of this exotic collection of images as seen by the electron microscope that has the ability to magnify images from 20 times to over 22 million times and the results are colorful, almost indescribably beautiful details we will never see without this marvelous instrument.

Some of the images (each on a separate page with minimal verbiage to detract form the wonder) include an ant holding a microchip (as seen on the cover), the surface of an erasable programmable Read Only Memory silicon microchip, Surface of an Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory silicon microchip, eyelash hairs growing from the surface of human skin (looking for all the world like reeds growing form a riverbed), the surface of a strawberry, bacteria on the surface of a human tongue, human spermatozoa, nylon hooks and loops of Velcro, household dust (this one includes long hairs of cat fur, twisted synthetic and woolen fibers, serrated insect scales, a pollen grain, and plant and insect remains!!!), the head of a mosquito, head louse clinging to a human hair (a bit terrifying), eight eyes (two groups of four) on the head of a tarantula, clutch of butterfly eggs on a raspberry plant, and many more.

One of the aspects of the photographs (aside from the fact that here are geometrical atomic forms that defy imagination) is the brilliance of color that comes as a complete surprise to the eye. This is a book for adults as well as children to explore that world secreted from the human eye. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, March 11
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish there was a bit more scanning electron microscope images along with some technical details, but overall this is a solid book.

The vast range of different images and the creativity makes it 4 stars. It is really neat and a few images really left me feeling humbled. Especially the picture of the Pentium IV chip. Wow.
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if you enjoy the world of the very, very small, then this book is for you. divided into chapters covering subjects as diverse as microorganisms, botanics, zoology, and the human body, and featuring magnifications from as low as 38x to as high as 12,000x and above, these photographs are stunning. beautifully colored to highlight the smallest details, each page is a journey of discovery. it is hard to believe, for example, that single celled animals can have hairlike structures, and even harder to believe that you can view these incredibly tiny features. While this book is geared toward adult audiences, children too will find many of the images captivating, especially those like the head of a mosquito, or butterfly scales.

A steal at twice the price, you can't afford to pass this one up at a price of under $10.
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