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The Spark of Life

Electricity in the Human Body

Ashcroft, Frances M.

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Spark of Life
A spectacular account of the body electric, showing how, from before conception to the last breath we draw, electrical signals in our cells are essential to everything we think and do.

Publisher: New York : Norton, 2012
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 0393078035
Characteristics: 339 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm


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Dec 18, 2012

In 1771, Italian physician Luigi Galvani discovered that dead frogs will kick their legs when shocked; shortly after, his nephew Giovanni Aldini electrocuted fresh corpses to achieve a similar effect. Their discoveries marked the beginning of a new scientific field, one dedicated to study of the electrical energy produced by living tissues or organisms. In The Spark of Life, Oxford physiology professor Frances Ashcroft reveals how our bodies produce, conduct, and transmit electricity -- and what effects this has on our health and survival. From the ion channels that play a role in conception to the cessation of pulses between nerve endings that leads to death, electricity truly governs every aspect of our lives.

Nature and Science newsletter

Nov 17, 2012
  • binational rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Though I love science writing, I found this book very disappointing. To begin with, the type was improperly set, creating highly distracting spaces within words, like this: spar k of li fe. Beyond that, the explanations of intracellular mechanisms remained bewildering and opaque. I am trained in the sciences, and expect to be able to understand anything presented in such a work intended for the general public. Not in this book!


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