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Exploring the Way Life Works: The Science of Biology

Author(s): Mahlon Hoagland
Bert Dodson
Judy Hauck
  • ISBN-13: 9780763716882
  • ISBN-10:076371688X
  • Paperback    384 pages      © 2001
Price: $184.95 US List
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The Way Life Works is the perfect answer for any instructor seeking a more concise, meaningful, and flexible alternative to the standard introductory biology text.

Organized around one central idea – the amazing unity that underlies biological diversity – this book presents biology's basic concepts and applications through a brilliant interweaving of incisive explanations, imaginative analogies, and stunning visual graphics.

The process of science is strongly emphasized, and specific historical and current research is presented to elucidate the achievements of scientific exploration and the roles of curiosity and observation in initiating the scientific process.

Easily adaptable to multiple teaching styles, this irresistably readable, innovative, and engaging new textbook is guaranteed to inspire both teachers and students alike.

Features & Benefits

A concept-driven approach emphasizes broad, unifying themes so that students are able to grasp "the big picture" and achieve a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that underlie biological diversity.
Strong emphasis on the tools and process of science shows students how we have discovered what we know so far about living systems and that research is a continuum in which one person's work builds on others and helps others.
  • Doing Science boxes   contain abstracts from current scientific papers that exemplify the application of basic concepts to ongoing reseach.    
  • Tools of Science boxes   contain descriptions of the scientific tools used to discover and elaborate on basic concepts.     
  • Observing the Way Life Works are  photographs and quotations, descriptions and depictions of nature by scientists and non scientist observers.  
Rich visual graphics, intertwined with imaginative analogies, and incisive explanations, transform the complex ideas and science of biology into a subject that is readily accessible, fascinating, and relevant.   
  • Stunning illustrations   by expert Bert Dodson help students visualize complex biological processes and appreciate the beauty and unity of the living world.      
  • Imaginative analogies help students connect the familiar world of their own observations to the dynamic world of scientific discovery and exploration.    
  • Superbly written explanations clearly and eloquently describe the fascinating workings of nature - how life grows, develops, reproduces, and gets along - and the roles that observation and curiosity play in initiating the scientific process.
Flexible organization and an extensive teaching package make it easy to adapt chapter material to multiple teaching styles and formats.
  • Brief, concise self-contained chapters are easily supplemented with additional resources of an instructor's own choosing or from the Web links.   
  • Extensive PowerPoint presentations, including complete text outlines and art, as well as a full complement of additional material (e.g - an entire powerpoint presentation with text and art of cell structure and function), to help instructors expand upon the book's content.
New to this Edition! Connections is an impressive Web site where students will find a number of exercises and links to other resources that expand on chapter material. Also available for instructors:  
  • A Teaching Forum   where ideas and suggestions about approaches to teaching introductory biology can be exchanged. 
  • A growing library of contributed applications of biological concepts and abstracts from research papers.

Applicable Courses

The processes of science permeate this book.  Throughout, there is an understanding that science is not owned by scientists - that many of the questions science asks are formalized versions of the questions most curious people ask. It focuses, too, on the content in which science happens, and shows that science arises from careful observation of nature, a province accessible to all of us.

  • Non-major's introductory biology (freshman level)      
  • High School general biology

     Also serves as a valuable supplement for courses in:

  • Zoology    
  • Molecular Biology    
  • Environmental Science    
  • Ecology


1. Setting the Stage
 The unity that underlies diversity
      - Science as an organized, accessible manifestation of human curiosity

2. Patterns: 
 The core of a biology course:the unifying principles that underlie the fascinating diversity of life.
     -  Science as an organized, accessible manifestation of human curiosity.

3. Energy:
      - How living creatures transform energy
      - How energy flows through organisms and through communities.

4. Information: 
 How the four-letter language of DNA spells out instructions for 
        building millions of life forms.

5. Machinery: 
 How DNA's instructions are translated into molecules of RNA and then translated into proteins.

6. Feedback: 
 Homeostasis: how cells, organisms and communities regulate 
       internal environments.

7. Community: 
 How a cell diversifies into communities of specialized cells, organs, system feedback loops, and how individuals interact and organize.

8. Evolution: 
 How the river of DNA information flows across generations
     - How the information of DNA is sifted and sorted by cells, and environments.


Mahlon Hoagland

Mahlon Hoagland, a noted molecular biologist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, is best known as discoverer of amino acid activating enzymes and codiscoverer of transfer RNA. A winner of the Franklin Medal, he is former Professor and Chairman, Department of Biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School. He has written four books about science for the public.

Bert Dodson

Bert Dodson has illustrated over sixty books. He is the author of Keys to Drawing, published in eight languages. An avid science scholar, he has played a key role in a program to educate the nation's judges about molecular biology. He recently designed the animations for a PBS series about microbiology, Intimate Strangers. 

Judy Hauck

Judy Hauck has twelve years of teaching and fifteen years of college science textbook development experience. She has developed successful texts in physics, chemistry, astronomy and statistics, among other disciplines, but is genetically programmed especially to love and teach the biological sciences.

  • "I can't remember when I've been more impressed by the elegance and clarity of a basic text. It's just wonderful front to back. And beautifully illustrated. Things are clear, the notion of scale and structure is everywhere, all the right 'themes' of science pedagogy are in place, and the writing is straightforward and lucid."

    Kevin Padian
    Professor and Curator
    University of California, Berkeley
    President National Center for Science Education


    "The teaching tools are awesome! They really helps to capture the students' attention."

    Cynthia Bishop
    Seattle Pacific University

    "I'm enjoying using Exploring the Way Life Works, and my students seem to like the book, too - they are doing significantly better than other classes I've taught using other texts!"

    Francine S. Glazer, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, Biological Sciences &
    Assistant Director, Center for Professional Development
    Kean University 

The following instructor resources are available to qualified instructors for download

ISBN-13: 9780763716882

Image Bank
Instructor Manual
Slides in PowerPoint Format

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