The Science of Being Human

By | September 8, 2020

Biology was one of my favourite subjects in school and this book is a joy to read (at least to me).

Written in a lighthearted and chatty manner, author Marty Jopson manages to pack quirky bits of information in easily readable chunks. The first part of the book touches on physiology while the latter part focuses more on psychology and the human environment.

For instance, you will learn how lactose intolerance (an affliction I had since young) came about; how poop transplant can potentially improve athletic performance; how cell suicide occurs in our body; and how we are stumped by really big numbers.

You can also read interesting stories, like how former UK prime minister David Cameron refrained from micturition (the obscure scientific term for urination) so that he could focus on delivering persuasive speeches; the ethical dilemmas of placebos and nocebos; and the wobbly problems of the London Millennium Footbridge.

One could argue that the second part does not really relate to the science of being human, but I’m not here to split hairs.

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