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Microcosmos: Discovering the World Through Microscopic Images from 20X to Over 22 Million X Magnification [Paperback]

Brandon Broll
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 14.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2010
Microcosmos is a remarkable photo-journey into everyday life through spectacular microscopic images. This new edition lifts the book to breathtaking realms. The extraordinary images, produced with the latest microphotography technologies, are displayed on more readerfriendly larger page layouts. Most of the 205 full-colour photographs were taken using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), which allows us to see our world as never before. Each page features a single image, a remarkable close-up that reveals form, shape and colour in incredible detail. The book is divided into six chapters that cover: Microorganisms, Botany, The human body, Zoology, Minerals, Technology. Every photograph is accompanied by an informative caption that describes the image, how it was captured and the number of magnifications. With the stunning production values of its full-colour photographs and its clearly written text, Microcosmos provides a fascinating journey of discovery for every reader.

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Microcosmos: Discovering the World Through Microscopic Images from 20X to Over 22 Million X Magnification + Heaven and Earth: Unseen by the Naked Eye (Photography) + The Human Body Close-Up
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books Ltd (25 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554077141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554077144
  • Product Dimensions: 27.7 x 23 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 355,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

[Review of hardcover edition: ] An amazing array of shapes and textures that would be the envy of Joan Miro.--Alexander Theroux"The Wall Street Journal" (01/01/2007)

About the Author

Brandon Broll is a London-based journalist specializing in science and medicine who has published stories on subjects as diverse as brainmapping and crash-test dummies. His work appears regularly in The Guardian, and in international publications such as Reader's Digest.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives you a different perspective... 7 Jan 2011
By Emmster TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Ok, so this is a book with 203 pictures, virtually all taken with a scanning electron microscope. These devices can produce pictures in extreme closeup and the images are all the more alien because of it.

The book is broken into six sections:

1 - Microorganisms (e.g. virii, phytoplankton, bacteria)
2 - Botanics (e.g. fungi spores, pollen, leaves, stems, seeds)
3 - Human Body (e.g. lots of cells, spine, bone, muscle, blood vessels, blood clots, kidney stone)
4 - Zoology (e.g. everyday insects, spiders, tiny mites)
5 - Minerals (e.g. snowflakes, vitamin C, folic acid, mescaline)
6 - Technology (e.g. velcro, nylon, toilet paper, cigarette paper, knife and razor blades)

(note - there more subjects than i've listed. I just wanted to give a flavour.)

Each section has a set of full-colour glossies that will blow your hair back. The images have been cleaned up and coloured using digital techniques; and hence are stunning. A small amount of text summarises each image and an indication of the required magnification level is given.

There are some really though-provoking shots; the one with neurons being grown on transistors (and mutually activating!) springs to mind.

I think it's a great coffee-table book: it has lots of pictures and not much text, it will cause comment and discussion regardless of the audience, and if all else fails, you can use the close up of a hair-louse (one ugly hombre) to scare your kids senseless.

I loved it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Rob B
Format:Paperback
Unlike his older sister I have had difficulty getting my 10 year old son to read anything meaningful. However I spotted him looking at a book in the shop in the city gallery, Manchester. He was transfixed by the images that the electron microscope can give. I took this as a sign, barcoded the book and here we are. Having just spent his Xmas 's on more books than I could have hoped for I am amazed at how this book kick started his reading head. Filled with wonderful Images and bytesized chunks of text that don't overwhelm his reading he has stunned his teacher and won an award for doing a class discussion on the world that is before us but unseen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book of Amazing Images 22 Aug 2011
By mickyjw
Format:Paperback
I am a fibre artist and often use microscopic images as reference points. I'm currently working on a series of small sculptures about bacteria and viruses and this book has been inspirational.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 18 Mar 2013
By Lees
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really good book. I bought this for a male friend and he found it to be extremely interesting - . .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty, but frustrating 7 Nov 2010
By Daniel - Published on Amazon.com
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great but boring 21 July 2012
By Maria - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, but unlikely to last long 19 Sep 2011
By Mary H. Franklin - Published on Amazon.com
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!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book 30 July 2011
By Reader Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i am very happy wiith this book, great pictures , great printing , only wish they had given a little more write up about the pictures
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Electron Microscope and Art 27 Mar 2011
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
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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