Cover: Life at the Edge of Sight: A Photographic Exploration of the Microbial World, from Harvard University PressCover: Life at the Edge of Sight in HARDCOVER

Life at the Edge of Sight

A Photographic Exploration of the Microbial World

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Product Details


$35.00 • £28.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674975910

Publication Date: 09/25/2017


384 pages

7-3/8 x 8-1/4 inches

176 color illustrations, 35 halftones

Belknap Press


From the microbial mats at Grand Prismatic Spring in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park to yeasts, bacteria, and diatoms, the realm of minute life—the foundation of the planetary ecosystem—is ceaselessly compelling. Microbiologists Scott Chimileski and Roberto Kolter explore it by meshing sumptuous images with sharp text. Their swirling narrative segues through deep time; lingers on slime molds, tardigrades (‘water bears’), rotifers and the microbes driving fermentation; and speculates enticingly on extraterrestrial microbiota.—Barbara Kiser, Nature

[Kolter and Chimileski] offer an appreciation of microorganisms that is both scientific and artistic, and that gives a glimpse of the cellular wonders that are literally underfoot.—John Rennie and Lucy Reading-Ikkanda, Quanta Magazine

This lavishly illustrated celebration [of microbes] takes in everything from antibiotics, fungi and ‘intelligent slime’ to the rich environment ‘on the kitchen counter,’ while also tracing the stories of the leading scientists who revealed this extraordinary world. Microbes will never be the same again.—Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education

This is a most lovely and profound book about microbes. It is a paean to nature, and to the irrepressible curiosity of those who have explored the obscure byways of our world. Both scholars and armchair enthusiasts will enjoy the journey!—Martin Blaser, author of Missing Microbes

Chimileski and Kolter’s wonderful book tells stories of microbial discovery. It beautifully illustrates the microscopic organisms that have shaped our world.—Richard Lenski, Hannah Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University

Through stories that are both entertaining and scholarly, this delightful book celebrates the wonders and grand reach of the microbial world. The photography is stunning, and will leave any reader—expert or novice—with a sense of awe.—Dianne K. Newman, Gordon M. Binder/Amgen Professor of Biology and Geobiology, California Institute of Technology

Life at the Edge of Sight offers an inspired journey into microbiology, biodiversity, symbiosis, evolution, and the origin of life, guided by an eminent scientist and an extraordinary photographer.—Pascale Cossart, Professor and Head of the Bacteria-Cell Interactions Unit, Institut Pasteur

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