Campbell Essential Biology with Physiology (4th Edition)

Campbell Essential Biology with Physiology (4th Edition)

Author: Eric J. Simon and Jean L. Dickey

Publisher: Benjamin Cummings


Publish Date: February 27, 2012

ISBN-10: 0321772601

Pages: 752

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

This is a wonderful time to teach and learn biology. Opportunities to marvel at the natural world and the life within it abound. It’s difficult to peruse a news website without finding stories that touch on biology and its intersection with society. In addition, the world of pop culture is rich with books, movies, TV shows, comic strips, and video games that feature biological wonders and challenge us to think about important biological concepts and their implications. Although some people say that they don’t like biology (or, more often, science in general), nearly everyone will admit to an inborn biophilia. After all, most of us keep pets, tend a garden, enjoy zoos and aquariums, or appreciate time spent outdoors. Furthermore, nearly everyone realizes that the subject of biology has a significant impact on his or her own life through its connections to medicine, biotechnology, agriculture, environmental issues, forensics, and myriad other areas. But despite the inborn affinity that nearly everyone has for biology, it can be a struggle for nonscientists to delve into the subject. Our primary goal in writing Campbell Essential Biology with Physiology is to help instructors motivate and educate the next generation of citizens by tapping into the inherent curiosity about life that we all share.

Goals of the Book

Although our world is rich with “teachable moments” and learning opportunities, the explosion of knowledge threatens to bury a curious person under an avalanche of information. “So much biology, so little time” is the universal lament of nonmajors biology instructors. Neil Campbell conceived of Campbell Essential Biology with Physiology as a tool to help instructors and students focus on the most important areas of biology within a single semester. To that end, the book is organized into six core areas: cells, genes, evolution, ecology, animals, and plants. His vision, which we carry on and extend in this edition, has enabled us to keep Campbell Essential Biology with Physiology manageable in size without being superficial in developing the concepts that are most fundamental to understanding life. We take the “less is more” mantra in education today to mean fewer topics and more focused explanations, not content that is more diluted. In countless conversations with instructors and students, we have noticed some important trends in how biology is taught.

In particular, many instructors voice a desire to achieve three goals in their introductory biology courses for nonscience majors: (1) to engage students by relating the core content to their lives and the greater society; (2) to clarify the process of science by showing how it is applied in the real world; and (3) to demonstrate how evolution serves as biology’s unifying theme. To help achieve these goals, every chapter of this book includes three important features. First, a chapter opening section called Biology and Society highlights a connection between the chapter’s core content and students’ lives. Second, a section called The Process of Science describes how the scientific process has illuminated the topic at hand, using a classic or modern experiment as an example. Third, a chapter-closing Evolution Connection section relates the chapter to biology’s unifying theme of evolution. To maintain a cohesive narrative for each topic, the content of each chapter is tied together with a unifying chapter thread, a relevant high-interest topic that is woven throughout the three chapter essays and throughout the entire chapter. In this way, the unifying chapter thread ties together the three pedagogical goals of the course using a topic that is compelling and relevant to students.

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