What Is Life? A Guide to Biology & Prep-U Second Edition
As a new graduate student at Harvard, I heard from experienced teaching fellows that if you were interested in learning how to be an effective teacher, it was essential to seek out extraordinary mentors. Based on word of mouth, I became involved with E. O. Wilson’s course in Evolutionary Biology and Irven DeVore’s course in Human Behavioral Biology. Both were known to be unusually provocative, challenging, and entertaining classes for non-science majors. I aggressively pursued teaching positions in both classes—which I held onto tightly for twelve semesters. Working under these legendary instructors, I was set on a course that inspired and prepared me to write this book.
The two courses were quite different from each other, but at their core both were built on two beliefs that are central to this book and to my thinking about education: (1) Biology is creative, interesting, and fun. (2) Biology is relevant to the daily life of every person. There was a palpable sense that, in teaching nonscience majors especially, we had a responsibility to provide our
students with the tools to thrive in a society increasingly permeated by scientifi c ideas and issues, and that one of our most effective strategies would be to convey the excitement we feltfor biology and the enormous practical value it has to help us understand the world. I thank Professors Wilson and DeVore for all that they have shared with me.
My development as a scientist and, particularly, my appreciation for rigorous and methodical critical thinking have been shaped by the kind support and wise guidance of Richard Lewontin. I have also been fortunate to have as a long-time mentor and collaborator Michael Rose, who has instilled in me a healthy skepticism about any observation in life that is not fi vefold replicated. And for almost daily insightful input on matters relating to scientifi c content, teaching, writing, and more, I thank Terry Burnham.
There are many other friends and colleagues I wish to thank for helping me with What Is Life? In researching and writing the book and in developing thenumerous courses I teach, I have benefi ted from more than a decade of perceptive and valuable contributions, too numerous to list, from Glenn Adelson, Alon Ziv, Michael Cooperson, and Alicia Moretti. I am tremendously appreciative of all they have done for me.
For a project covering so many topics and years, it is essential to have a close group of trusted, tolerant, and knowledgeable colleagues, I am grateful to Harold Owens, Greg Graffi n, Brian Swartz, Greg Laden, Jeff Egger, Andy Tobias, Elisabeth Tobias, Joshua Malina, Melissa Merwin-Malina, Bill U’ren, Chris Bruno, Michelle Richmond, and Meredith Dutton, who have offered advice, guidance, and support, far beyond the call of duty. Numerous colleagues at UCLA provided assistance and support, including Steve Strand, Cliff Brunk, Fred Eiserling, Emil Reisler, Victoria Sork, Deb Pires, Lianna Johnson, Gaston Pfl uegl, Bob Simons, Frank Laski, Jeff Thomas, and Tracy Newman. As a result of their commitment to excellence in the UCLA Life Science Core Curriculum, I have been able to acquire a wealth of experiences that have helped me continue improving as a teacher. I owe a tremendous debt to Sara Tenney, without whose encouragement and support this project could never have been begun or completed.
W. H. Freeman is an extremely author-centric publisher. Throughout the process of creating this book, from the fi rst inception of the idea through the production of all the supplementary materials, Liz Widdicombe, Brian Napack, and John Sargent have been tremendously supportive. I am grateful for their welcoming me into their publishing family. Publisher Peter Marshall has been a tenacious, versatile, and skillful manager of the entire team. I am very fortunate to have such a wise leader overseeing all aspects of this project.
The team of editors that worked with me on this book— and two people in particular—improved it immeasurably. Development editor Beth Howe, oversaw every aspect of the writing and production of the book, attending to issues of content, production, and design while making insightful contributions throughout and expertly managing the thousand details necessary to put everything together. I could not have completed this book without Beth’s commitment and guidance. And I cannot adequately convey my gratitude to development editor Jane Tufts, whose meticulous attention to detail, commitment to accuracy, and almost obsessive drive to create a thorough and readable book are apparent on every page. It is impossible to teach biology without illustrations. My deepest gratitude goes to Tommy Moorman for creating such innovative and effective fi gures for the book. Tommy’s vision for an elegant and beautiful art program completely integrated with the text is apparent on every page. Working with him to develop each illustration in this book has been (and continues to be) one of my most enjoyable and satisfying professional collaborations. Thanks also go to Alison Kendall and to Erin Daniel for assisting with the creation of the illustrations and for work on the To Go guides. For the design of the book, I thank Tom Carling. And for excellent assistance with photo research thanks to Julia Phelan, Deborah Anderson, and Christine Buese.
I wish to thank Harvey Pough for his assistance with the fi rst edition of What Is Life? for which he provided excellent drafts of Chapters 11–13 and contributions to Chapter 16. For creating the innovative media and print materials that accompany the book, I am thankful for the contributions of Patrick Shriner, Mike Jones, and Beth McHenry, and for the extensive input of supplements editors Amanda Dunning and Marni Rolfes. I thank all of the contributors and advisors who helped create the student and instructor resources; your efforts have been invaluable. I thank Jennifer Warner and Meredith Norris for their work on the Student Success Guide, and for Jennifer’s willingness to share her classroom experiences with the sales force. I also appreciate the contributions of Troy Williams and the Prep-U team. Sheri Snavely provided signifi cant input in developing pedagogical strategies throughout the book; I also appreciate her thoughtful and smart advice at nearly every step in the publishing process.
Copyeditor Linda Strange helped to ensure consistency and readability throughout the text. I thank Chris Hunt for compiling the thorough index. The rest of the life sciences editorial team at W. H. Freeman, too, have been knowledgeable and supportive, particularly Kate Parker, Marc Mazzoni, Jerry Correa, Susan Winslow, Elaine Palucki, and Lisa Samols. For their effi ciency and commitment to producing a beautiful book, I am most grateful to the W. H. Freeman production team: Sheridan Sellers, Mary Louise Byrd, Diana Blume, Susan Wein, Philip McCaffrey, and Ellen Cash.
The people on the marketing team at W. H. Freeman have contributed enormously in helping with the challenging task of introducing a new book to students and instructors across the country. Debbie Clare, Steve Rigolosi, Lindsey Veautour, and
John Britch have been enthusiastic and dedicated in creating materials and strategies to assist instructors in evaluating the ways in which What Is Life? can aid them as they develop their own courses and strategies for success.
Finally, I thank my family—Kevin Phelan, Patrick Phelan, Erin Enderlin, and my parents—for their unwavering support and interest as I wrote this book. Reading draft after draft and following each revision, they made valuable contributions at every stage. I thank Jack, Charlie, and Sam, too. Most of all, for her generous and passionate support of this project from day one, her substantive contributions to both the content and presentation of ideas, and so much more, I thank Julia.
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