Core Biology Yasmeen Fahr
Current Event 2.28.14
Bryson, Bill. "20 Small World." A Short History of Nearly Everything. New York: Broadway, 2003. 302-20. Print.
For my current event, I read a chapter out of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. The book contains various (unrelated) chapters, each with a different focus or topic pertaining to many different branches of science (earth science, biology, biochemistry, etc.) The author explores each topic by giving background and examples of studies done on the given subject, leaving the reader with a basic knowledge of the issue and it’s history. The chapter I read focused mainly on the world of bacteria.
In the first few pages of the chapter, the reader is given unbelievable fact after fact about the world of bacteria. The most interesting ones for myself were those concerning the unfathomable amount of bacteria surrounding us. I learned that on the average human’s skin alone there are about one trillion bacteria, which is about a hundred thousand on every square centimeter. This, despite being a colossal number, is only a fraction of the total bacteria possessed by a human. There are trillions more inside and all over our bodies. Additionally, I found it very interesting how much we actually need bacteria in our bodies. It is a common misconception that bacteria are negative and we need to rid our bodies of it. Contrarily, they are actually very good for us. They help humans digest sugars, starches, etc. while others fight off bad bacteria that could be invading our bodies. We need bacteria to survive.
Reading this chapter did raise some questions for me as well as providing me with knowledge about bacteria, though. For example, a large section of the chapter highlights how strong bacteria is. I learned that it can live in almost any extreme atmosphere with no problem and has been doing so since before humans existed. I began to wonder how this was possible. How can something so small be so strong? This seems to be a largely asked question among biologists as well, and is surely something I would love to learn/read more about in the future.
Overall, this chapter was very interesting and captured my attention from beginning to end. I would definitely recommend the book based on what I have read because the style of writing is so easy to understand without being boring. The great thing about it is that if one isn’t interested in reading about bacteria, each chapter is on a different topic, so there will be something for everyone! I will definitely be reading more of this book in the future.