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Rom Harre

Pavlov's Dogs and Schrodinger's Cat

The use of animals in science is an emotive subject, but in Pavlov's Dogs and Schrödinger's Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory Rom Harré takes a different tack, looking at the many different ways in which, at different times in history, living things have contributed to scientific experiments.

The book looks at animals as detectors, for instance zebra fish which fluoresce in the presence of pollutants, and at the use of living things as measuring apparatus, for example finding the climate in the past via pollen gains. It goes on to examine the ways in which animals are used as models of humans, and the testing of hypotheses using animal experiments.The later chapters look at experiments on large communities of animals, at some example of deception in the studies of living things, and at 'virtual life' (although the inclusion of Schrödinger's Cat seemed mostly an excusefor a discussion of quantum mechanics).

Harré claims that the book is about animals as scientific apparatus rather than experiments on animals, but I felt that this was a rather artificial distinction, and sometimes made the book a bit stilted. The book isn't difficult to read, but if you're looking for a book of amusing anecdotes about animals and science then this isn't it. It's main benefit is the large variety of examples throughout history of links between animals and science. Hence if you are interested in the use of animals in science then I would think you will find these examples highly informative.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 322 pages  
ISBN: 0199238561
Salesrank: 3876666
Weight:1.06 lbs
Published: 2009 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from $3.48:Used from $0.19
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 336 pages  
ISBN: 0199238561
Salesrank: 2441884
Weight:1.06 lbs
Published: 2009 OUP Oxford
Marketplace:New from £1.40:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 288 pages  
ISBN: 0199238561
Salesrank: 3190146
Weight:1.06 lbs
Published: 2009 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 7.32:Used from CDN$ 1.03
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Product Description
From the sheep, dog, and cockerel that were sent aloft in Montgolfier's balloon to test the air over Paris, to the famous clone Dolly the Sheep and the Darwinian finches of the Galapagos, Pavlov's Dogs and Schrödinger's Cat offers a fascinating and enlightening look at the use of plants and animals--including humans--in scientific experiments. Rom Harré provides a fresh and fascinating perspective on research, setting aside moral reflection to simply examine the history of how and why living creatures have been used for the purposes of discovery. Ranging over five centuries, the book uncovers many extraordinary stories, including tales of the people involved, to many curious incidents and episodes, and the occasional scientific fraud. From Gregor Mendel's use of pea plants to explore heredity, to Barry Marshall's used of himself as the experimental animal in his helicobacter experiments (he survived) and even the use of an imaginary cat in Schrödinger's famous thought experiment, the reader discovers a perspective on scientific work he or she has never encountered before.