Hardcore science that average people can understand

I recently read the book “I Contain Multitudes: the Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life” by Ed Yong. It discusses some of the current research and hypotheses surrounding the world of microbes, how they affect us, and how they can change the world around us.

For a long time, many people thought of microbes as the same thing pathogens, microorganisms that will harm you if you don’t get rid of them. New research shows us that we are biomes, individual environments in ourselves. Scientists’ latest estimates suggest that our bodies are a roughly even split between human cells and microbial cells. Studying and understanding these microbes, how they interact with us, and how they interact with each other could be a key to various medical breakthroughs. And it doesn’t just affect humans; scientists are also working on understanding how tweaking microbes could affect agriculture, wildlife, and forests invaded by pests. The once hidden world of microbes could be a vast landscape of possibilities.

While I am a science enthusiast, I am not a biologist. Going into this book, I was nervous that I might not have the background knowledge needed to understand it. Yong, an award-winning science writer, has taken very high level, hardcore science and translated it into something I, and many other average people, can understand. It also didn’t feel like it was being over-simplified. I’m looking forward to hearing more about what scientists learn about the microbial word.

Connect with the world, microscopic and full sized, at the Buda Public Library!

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