People across the world are facing, both personally and collectively, choices that will be shaped by their understanding of Biology. Should I become a vegan? Is it healthy? Would it help preserve our environment? Should I take an oral contraceptive, daily, for several years? How will the physical or mental health of my children be influenced by their screen use, diet, exercise, vaccinations, drugs like Ritalin? If we don’t understand some Biology, how can we evaluate the answers that the media and the politicians will offer us?
When you use this book, you will need to have some biological knowledge, and may thinking of taking the subject to a higher level. No specific exam syllabus is assumed, however, most of the topics would be found in most pre-university Biology courses. Each of the topics was chosen for its intrinsic interest, for its scientific relevance and because it would be possible to achieve a satisfying depth of understanding in a reasonably short time. (Each might provide a week of homework for a year twelve student.)
Photographs, optical and electron micrographs and original diagrams have been very extensively used. There are questions to allow you to check your existing knowledge and questions to explore your understanding of the new ideas presented. There are invitations to research beyond the material presented and invitations to debate issues that are raised. Each topic might be tackled alone, with a buddy or as a small study group. (Answers to the questions are to be found in the teacher’s edition.)
All branches of knowledge use technical language and biological terms are unavoidable. There has been an effort to keep them to a minimum. Each study guide aims to get you thinking like a biologist. You will be asked to evaluate and develop your own ideas. You will be helped to develop intellectual skills which will be needed for university and in your career.
The author has long experience of teaching GCE Advanced level Biology to students aged 16-19. He has been a principle examiner at A level and wrote the Genetics chapters of the revised Nuffield A level study guides.