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Biology: The Science of Life Lecture

Biology: The Science of Life

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Publisher's Summary

One of the greatest scientific feats of our era is the astonishing progress made in understanding biology-the intricate machinery of life-a progress to which the period we are living in right now has contributed the most.

As you read these words, researchers are delving ever deeper into the workings of living systems, turning their discoveries into new medical treatments, improved methods of growing food, and innovative products that are already changing the world.

The 72 lectures in this comprehensive exploration of living systems at all levels-from biological molecules to global ecosystems-will give you all the information you need to grasp this fascinating field and its impact on both our own lives and our understanding of the life that surrounds us.

Professor Nowicki presents his subject in a conceptual format, emphasizing the importance of broad principles. Though facts and details are offered in abundance, it is always in the context of developing a context listeners can readily absorb.

Your newfound mastery of the fundamentals of biology will serve you in many ways-whether you want to read the headlines with greater insight, update a subject you studied long ago, view the natural world with new appreciation, become a better-informed voter and consumer, or gain the intellectual stimulation of understanding the basic principles that unite all living things.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Deelite uk 08/08/2013
    Deelite uk 08/08/2013 Member Since 2017

    Audible addict! Love the great courses - instant erudition in a range of topics - plus a big comedy fan.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Biology brought to life!"
    What made the experience of listening to Biology: The Science of Life the most enjoyable?

    This series of lectures is written and read in such a lively, engaging manner, its a pleasure to listen to and promotes effortless learning. I have been hoping in earnest for a series like this to appear (vast improvement over the lacklustre modern scholar title I tried previously) and I can't wait to sample other courses in the series. <br/>The professor - whose performance is bright and bouncy enough to carry you the distance with his enthusiasm- gives an extremely well structured overview of the life sciences, pitched at about A level. I am fairly familiar with the material but It is suitable for those with limited knowledge of the subject- however such a reader might need to supplement their learning with diagrams from books to gain a more complete understanding of some topics.


    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Florence Delaney 29/09/2014 Listener Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Brilliant lecture series"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a really enjoyable and engaging series of lectures. The information is clear and it gives a great in-depth overview of the subject. I was worried it would be too dumbed-down - not so.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Enthusiastic reader 19/09/2015 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "More than a superficial introduction to biology"

    Author is very enthusiastic and very good at explaining complex subjects without dumbing down. 72 lectures is a lot, but I miss listening to them now that it is over.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Santiago Ruiz-Valdepeñas Martín de Almagro 05/07/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thorough and well structured course"

    Amazing listen for the knowledge hungry. As a scientist in a totally different field, with no education in biology beyond high school, this audiobook gave me so much useful material, in a very approachable way and following a nice structure to retain all the key concepts.
    Arid at times, skip through if a particular chapter doesn't interest you. Great knowledge lays ahead.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nadine 14/06/2016
    Nadine 14/06/2016 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    5
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    "Adore this"

    I love this course, gives you a vast indepth overview of the magic that is biology. engaging and thoughtful lectures

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Eran
    colorado
    11/07/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great for starters to biology"
    What made the experience of listening to Biology: The Science of Life the most enjoyable?

    very very interesting, next year I'm starting to study biology in University,<br/>and I wanted a good background for it.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    36 half an hour lectures is not possible,<br/>but it was very catching and intresting


    Any additional comments?

    LECTURE LIST<br/>1<br/>The Scope of "Life"<br/>2<br/>More on the Origin of Life<br/>3<br/>The Organism and the Cell<br/>4<br/>Proteins—How Things Get Done in the Cell<br/>5<br/>Which Molecule Holds the Code?<br/>6<br/>The Double Helix<br/>7<br/>The Nuts and Bolts of Replicating DNA<br/>8<br/>The Central Dogma<br/>9<br/>The Genetic Code<br/>10<br/>From DNA to RNA<br/>11<br/>From RNA to Protein<br/>12<br/>When Mistakes Happen<br/>13<br/>Dividing DNA Between Dividing Cells<br/>14<br/>Mendel and His Pea Plants<br/>15<br/>How Sex Leads to Variation<br/>16<br/>Genes and Chromosomes<br/>17<br/>Charles Darwin and "The Origin of Species"<br/>18<br/>Natural Selection in Action<br/>19<br/>Reconciling Darwin and Mendel<br/>20<br/>Mechanisms of Evolutionary Change<br/>21<br/>What Are Species and How Do New Ones Arise?<br/>22<br/>More on the Origin of New Species<br/>23<br/>Reconstructing Evolution<br/>24<br/>The History of Life, Revisited<br/>25<br/>From Cells to Organisms<br/>26<br/>Control of Gene Expression I<br/>27<br/>Control of Gene Expression II<br/>28<br/>Getting Proteins to the Right Place<br/>29<br/>Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology<br/>30<br/>How Cells Talk—Signals and Receptors<br/>31<br/>How Cells Talk—Ways That Cells Respond<br/>32<br/>From One Cell to Many in an Organism<br/>33<br/>Patterns of Early Development<br/>34<br/>Determination and Differentiation<br/>35<br/>Induction and Pattern Formation<br/>36<br/>Genes and Development<br/>37<br/>Homeostasis<br/>38<br/>Hormones in Animals<br/>39<br/>What is Special about Neurons?<br/>40<br/>Action Potentials and Synapses<br/>41<br/>Synaptic Integration and Memory<br/>42<br/>Sensory Function<br/>43<br/>How Muscles Work<br/>44<br/>The Innate Immune System<br/>45<br/>The Acquired Immune System<br/>46<br/>Form and Function in Plants I<br/>47<br/>Form and Function in Plants II<br/>48<br/>Behavior as an Adaptive Trait<br/>49<br/>Energy and Resources in Living Systems<br/>50<br/>How Energy is Harnessed by Cells<br/>51<br/>Enzymes—Making Chemistry Work in Cells<br/>52<br/>Cellular Currencies of Energy<br/>53<br/>Making ATP—Glycolysis<br/>54<br/>Making ATP—Cellular Respiration<br/>55<br/>Making ATP—The Chemiosmotic Theory<br/>56<br/>Capturing Energy from Sunlight<br/>57<br/>The Reactions of Photosynthesis<br/>58<br/>Resources and Life Histories<br/>59<br/>The Structure of Populations<br/>60<br/>Population Growth<br/>61<br/>What Limits Population Growth?<br/>62<br/>Costs and Benefits of Behavior<br/>63<br/>Altruism and Mate Selection<br/>64<br/>Ecological Interactions Among Species<br/>65<br/>Predators and Competitors<br/>66<br/>Competition and the Ecological Niche<br/>67<br/>Energy in Ecosystems<br/>68<br/>Nutrients in Ecosystems<br/>69<br/>How Predictable Are Ecological Communities?<br/>70<br/>Biogeography<br/>71<br/>Human Population Growth<br/>72<br/>The Human Asteroid

    121 of 122 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia
    25/04/14
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    Story
    "Great purchase even for a bio major!"
    Any additional comments?

    I am using this audiobook to review some of the concepts I learned during my time as a Biological Sciences major. Although I am already familiar with most of the material being covered, I have been using this audiobook to review for the MCAT. I would totally recommend this to anyone looking for an easy way to review major concepts. He does an excellent job of describing mechanisms and processes in a way that is easy to comprehend. I typically listen to this while driving or on the bus. However, I should mention that this may not be an easy listen for someone who has never taken an introductory biology course at the university level. For those people, I would suggest getting a general biology book containing related figures and diagrams or better yet getting the video version of these lectures because it may be difficult to visualize certain processes just by his description.

    37 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • Linnie Kate Schmidt
    Vallejo, CA
    16/02/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engaging and Edifying"
    If you could sum up Biology: The Science of Life in three words, what would they be?

    Science is awesome


    What about Professor Stephen Nowicki’s performance did you like?

    This could be terribly dry material in other hands, but Nowicki is a very good speaker, and makes things seem alive.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I'm listening to it on daily walks. Today I listened to the episodes about the discovery of DNA, however, and it was so gripping I walked an extra half mile to get to the end.


    Any additional comments?

    This is really helping me with the biology class I'm taking. Everything is explained thoroughly, but Nowicki doesn't get bogged down with details that aren't pertinent at the moment. I've been recommending this series very highly to my classmates!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Lars
    04/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good place to start but outdated."
    If you could sum up Biology: The Science of Life in three words, what would they be?

    A great place to begin even for laymen, but the fact that this audiobook is from 2003 shows. This audiobook deserves a 2nd edition.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Biology: The Science of Life?

    When Junk DNA (via retro viralesque means) was talked about as a viable possibility, BTW Junk DNA has been proven wrong.<br/><br/>This does not mean that this audiobook is useless, as there are a lot of relevant stuff in there as well.


    What about Professor Stephen Nowicki’s performance did you like?

    calm, clear, and easy to understand. <br/>I would petition Stephen for a 2nd edition.<br/>The way Stephen talks about the various subjects, as well as the way he structures his lessons, does credit to the initial goals, stated in lecture 1, that this is meant to be the layman's entry to the world of biology as well as useable by students seeking to get a college degree.


    Any additional comments?

    The title and intro (the opening lines of chapter 1) of this audiobook suggests that this is made for non-scientists as well. You cannot expect non scientists to be completely up to date on current scientific literature. Genetics happens to be an interest of mine(and i have Sadava's understanding genetics from the great courses), therefore i knew about junk DNA.<br/>But the average curious Georges and Janes are not necessarily going to have my interest, and they will most likely not appreciate the 41$ price-tag (15 if they subscribe to audible), just to get outdated teaching material.<br/><br/>Now i know i have just blitzed this audiobook, but i still encourage you, dear fellow layman consumer, to at least consider this audiobook.<br/>My tirade about junk DNA is about 5 sentences in one lecture, and junk DNA is served as a hypothesis and not as a theory, There are 72 lectures and most of this (at least to my knowledge) is still correct. <br/>The course guidebook even comes with several graphs and models. so you get lectures as well as what is basically a biology book.

    22 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Francois
    29/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This course is "Concepts and Ideas of Biology""

    Fabulous and captivating. This course is really "Concepts and Ideas of Biology".

    I think that a basic chemistry knowledge is required to get the most of the course.

    Narration was excellent. It really felt personal. Pacing was very good.

    The structure of the course with its 3 axes (Evolution, Development/Homeostasis, Energy) made it really more interesting than an biology book that I have seen in school.

    Then, there are plenty of small "Wow moments".

    Thank you

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Rose Blau Rowland
    Cortlandt Manor, NY United States
    20/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Learn to Talk to your Son"
    Would you listen to Biology: The Science of Life again? Why?

    I periodically return to lectures to see what I missed. The course is a tour-de-force. My son is taking AP Biology and plans to make a career in biology. I thought, as a lawyer and programmer who never took a college science course, that I should meet him half way. Perhaps, if I had taked a course with Prof. Nowicki, my career path would have changed.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Biology: The Science of Life?

    I finally understood what the fuss was over "creation vs.evolution" and why the creationists are driving real scientists totally crazy. The classes on the origins of life, and on Darwin were fascinating and explained why treating the 2 schools of thought as "absolute truths" are completely incompatible. As an ethical guide and parable, maybe, ... but as absolute truth, modern man, committed to the scientific method finds that approach an anathema.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Stephen Nowicki – was your favorite?

    This was a science lecture. The discussion of the discovery of DNA was a great story.


    19 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Kristi Richardson
    Milwaukie, OR, United States
    22/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Overview of Biology the Science of Life!"

    “A great and growing volume of facts about life as it goes on about us
    and within us becomes available for practical application … [But] this
    new material is still imperfectly accessible to ordinary busy people.” H.G. Wells in The Science of Life.


    1 The Scope of "Life"

    2 More on the Origin of Life

    3 The Organism and the Cell

    4 Proteins—How Things Get Done in the Cell

    5 Which Molecule Holds the Code?

    6 The Double Helix

    7 The Nuts and Bolts of Replicating DNA

    8 The Central Dogma

    9 The Genetic Code

    10 From DNA to RNA

    11 From RNA to Protein

    12 When Mistakes Happen

    13 Dividing DNA Between Dividing Cells

    14 Mendel and His Pea Plants

    15 How Sex Leads to Variation

    16 Genes and Chromosomes

    17 Charles Darwin and "The Origin of Species"

    18 Natural Selection in Action

    19 Reconciling Darwin and Mendel

    20 Mechanisms of Evolutionary Change

    21 What Are Species and How Do New Ones Arise?
    22 More on the Origin of New Species

    23 Reconstructing Evolution

    24 The History of Life, Revisited

    25 From Cells to Organisms

    26 Control of Gene Expression I

    27 Control of Gene Expression II

    28 Getting Proteins to the Right Place

    29 Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology

    30 How Cells Talk—Signals and Receptors

    31 How Cells Talk—Ways That Cells Respond

    32 From One Cell to Many in an Organism

    33 Patterns of Early Development

    34 Determination and Differentiation

    35 Induction and Pattern Formation

    36 Genes and Development

    37 Homeostasis

    38 Hormones in Animals

    39 What is Special about Neurons?

    40 Action Potentials and Synapses

    41 Synaptic Integration and Memory

    42 Sensory Function

    43 How Muscles Work




    44 The Innate Immune System

    45 The Acquired Immune System

    46 Form and Function in Plants I

    47 Form and Function in Plants II

    48 Behavior as an Adaptive Trait

    49 Energy and Resources in Living Systems

    50 How Energy is Harnessed by Cells

    51 Enzymes—Making Chemistry Work in Cells

    52 Cellular Currencies of Energy

    53 Making ATP—Glycolysis

    54 Making ATP—Cellular Respiration

    55 Making ATP—The Chemiosmotic Theory

    56 Capturing Energy from Sunlight

    57 The Reactions of Photosynthesis

    58 Resources and Life Histories

    59 The Structure of Populations

    60 Population Growth

    61 What Limits Population Growth?

    62 Costs and Benefits of Behavior

    63 Altruism and Mate Selection

    64 Ecological Interactions Among Species

    65 Predators and Competitors

    66 Competition and the Ecological Niche

    67 Energy in Ecosystems

    68 Nutrients in Ecosystems

    69 How Predictable Are Ecological Communities?

    70 Biogeography

    71 Human Population Growth

    72 The Human Asteroid

    Professor Nowicki of Duke University starts out his first lecture with this quote from 75 years ago. He wants to make Biology more accessible to ordinary people also and that is what this course is. I have to be honest and say this was the toughest course I have taken yet in the Great Courses I own. There are a total of 72 thirty-minute lectures and a 460-page book that also comes with the course to get through. I probably retained about a third of what the Professor was teaching and will definitely listen to this again and again until I can absorb it all.

    What I really loved about this book was the in depth study of how life begins, what each part of a living being does and how it is determined. My other favorite parts were about Mendel and his Peas that he studied and how they differ from Darwin and his Evolutionary theory.

    I also was fascinated by the Professor talking about how many Humans the Earth can sustain and what is the next step when we finally reach that threshold. I am retired and have tried to keep my brain active by learning something new every day and this course really helped to stretch my mind.

    I highly recommend this course to anyone who loves science and Biology especially as this is a great overview of the subject. I certainly was entranced by everything the Professor taught.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Frederic Leusch
    Brisbane, Qld, Australia
    13/03/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great and far-ranging overview of biology"
    Would you listen to Biology: The Science of Life again? Why?

    I really enjoyed this audiobook - it was well organized and highly informative. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get a sound basis of the concepts and issues of biology.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The only thing I found a little disappointing is the level of polish of the book. The narrator made several minor mistakes, which he immediately corrected, but these should have been removed during editing. In fact, there doesn't appear to have been ANY editing for this audiobook - it is more like a recorded series of university lectures than an audio book. I understand that is how it was recorded, but for the audio book version the least the editor could have done is some cleaning up ...


    Any additional comments?

    Great book, and congrats to Prof Nowicki for presenting the information in such an interesting way.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Alina
    MANASSAS, VA, United States
    08/08/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent book for Biology lovers"
    Would you listen to Biology: The Science of Life again? Why?

    The book has a lot of scientific information helpful in getting a good grasp in introductory Biology. It has been helpful in repeating and revising the material learned in a university class and a great addition to the regular text book. I would recommend it to students, especially those who commute to school as a supplemental material.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Biology: The Science of Life?

    The course is both wide and deep, and presents a good review material.


    What about Professor Stephen Nowicki’s performance did you like?

    Very knowledgeable and passionate, carries the listener away into the scientific world.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Emotions are not a part of scientific approach.


    Any additional comments?

    Best use of your time if you are into the material presented.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Deep Reader
    Earth
    02/02/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thorough"

    The course explores the theory of evolution from the "primordial soup" to the modern era, followed by more relevant exploration of key biological systems and the idea of biodiversity and communities. There's some imbalances in the attention given between one topic and another, and it focuses a lot of some extremely specific processes and skims through others.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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