Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds

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9780691070162: Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds

Mushrooms magically spew forth from the earth in the hours that follow a summer rain. Fuzzy brown molds mischievously turn forgotten peaches to slime in the kitchen fruit bowl. And in thousands of other ways, members of the kingdom Fungi do their part to make life on Earth the miracle that it is. In this lively book, George Hudler leads us on a tour of an often-overlooked group of organisms, which differ radically from both animals and plants. Along the way the author stops to ponder the marvels of nature and the impact of mere microbes on the evolution of civilization. Nature's ultimate recyclers not only save us from drowning in a sea of organic waste, but also provide us with food, drink, and a wide array of valuable medicines and industrial chemicals.


Some fungi make deadly poisons and psychedelic drugs that have interesting histories in and of themselves, and Hudler weaves tales of those into his scientific account of the nature of the fungi. The role of fungi in the Irish potato famine, in the Salem Witch Trials, in the philosophical writings of Greek scholars, and in the creation of ginger snaps are just a few of the many great moments in history to grace these pages.


Hudler moves so easily from discussing human history to exploring scientific knowledge, all with a sense of humor and enthusiasm, that one can well understand why he is an award-winning teacher both at Cornell University as well as nationally. Few, for instance, who read his invitation to "get out of your chair and take a short walk" will ever again look without curiosity and admiration at the "rotten" part of the world around them. Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds is full of information that will satisfy history buffs, science enthusiasts, and anyone interested in nature's miracles. Everyone in Hudler's audience will develop a new appreciation of the debt they owe to the molds for such common products as penicillin, wine, and bread.

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Oh, to be young and eligible to enroll in Professor George Hudler's "Plant Pathology 101" class at Cornell! For those of us who aren't, this book is the next best thing--a hugely entertaining introduction to spore lore. Not only does he bring us up to speed on the fungus science, he relates the amazing impact of his branch of science on human history. The Eleusinian Mysteries that so inspired Plato and Sophocles were probably caused by ergot, which Tim Leary and the CIA put to scarier use in its refined form, LSD. Other fungal products are more upbeat: penicillin (Hudler tells a good story about British scientists who put its spores on their clothes in 1940, to preserve their research in case Germany invaded), cyclosporins, which permit such organ recipients as David Crosby not to reject their healthy new livers, and Beano, a derivative of alpha-d-galactosidase that suppresses flatulence in humans. Want to commit the perfect murder? Try aflatoxin, as a Graham Greene character does in The Human Factor. Do you dare to recreate the hallucinations of the Salem witches? Ergot's just the thing, as characters discover to their misfortune in Robin Cook's thriller Acceptable Risk. Hudler packs plenty of intriguing stories into a brief, readable book: exploding artillery fungus, spores spread by earthquakes that can cause anorexia, a 35-acre spread of 1,500-year-old identical mushrooms in Michigan that may be the oldest, biggest living thing on Earth. No question about it--Dr. Hudler is one fun guy. --Tim Appelo

From the Inside Flap:

"Hudler's light-hearted approach to the subject of the impact of fungi on human history is refreshing and will attract students and lay people who have some interest in this area. Better yet, it will entice readers who were not concerned with this topic at all before delving into the book. . . . [Hudler] is to be commended for discovering some extremely exciting information, some of it little known even to mycologists."--James W. Kimbrough, University of Florida

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Mushrooms magically spew forth from the earth in the hours that follow a summer rain. Fuzzy brown molds mischievously turn forgotten peaches to slime in the kitchen fruit bowl. And in thousands of other ways, members of the kingdom Fungi do their part to make life on Earth the miracle that it is. In this lively book, George Hudler leads us on a tour of an often-overlooked group of organisms, which differ radically from both animals and plants. Along the way the author stops to ponder the marvels of nature and the impact of mere microbes on the evolution of civilization. Nature s ultimate recyclers not only save us from drowning in a sea of organic waste, but also provide us with food, drink, and a wide array of valuable medicines and industrial chemicals. Some fungi make deadly poisons and psychedelic drugs that have interesting histories in and of themselves, and Hudler weaves tales of those into his scientific account of the nature of the fungi. The role of fungi in the Irish potato famine, in the Salem Witch Trials, in the philosophical writings of Greek scholars, and in the creation of ginger snaps are just a few of the many great moments in history to grace these pages. Hudler moves so easily from discussing human history to exploring scientific knowledge, all with a sense of humor and enthusiasm, that one can well understand why he is an award-winning teacher both at Cornell University as well as nationally. Few, for instance, who read his invitation to get out of your chair and take a short walk will ever again look without curiosity and admiration at the rotten part of the world around them. Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds is full of information that will satisfy history buffs, science enthusiasts, and anyone interested in nature s miracles. Everyone in Hudler s audience will develop a new appreciation of the debt they owe to the molds for such common products as penicillin, wine, and bread. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691070162

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Mushrooms magically spew forth from the earth in the hours that follow a summer rain. Fuzzy brown molds mischievously turn forgotten peaches to slime in the kitchen fruit bowl. And in thousands of other ways, members of the kingdom Fungi do their part to make life on Earth the miracle that it is. In this lively book, George Hudler leads us on a tour of an often-overlooked group of organisms, which differ radically from both animals and plants. Along the way the author stops to ponder the marvels of nature and the impact of mere microbes on the evolution of civilization. Nature s ultimate recyclers not only save us from drowning in a sea of organic waste, but also provide us with food, drink, and a wide array of valuable medicines and industrial chemicals. Some fungi make deadly poisons and psychedelic drugs that have interesting histories in and of themselves, and Hudler weaves tales of those into his scientific account of the nature of the fungi. The role of fungi in the Irish potato famine, in the Salem Witch Trials, in the philosophical writings of Greek scholars, and in the creation of ginger snaps are just a few of the many great moments in history to grace these pages. Hudler moves so easily from discussing human history to exploring scientific knowledge, all with a sense of humor and enthusiasm, that one can well understand why he is an award-winning teacher both at Cornell University as well as nationally. Few, for instance, who read his invitation to get out of your chair and take a short walk will ever again look without curiosity and admiration at the rotten part of the world around them. Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds is full of information that will satisfy history buffs, science enthusiasts, and anyone interested in nature s miracles. Everyone in Hudler s audience will develop a new appreciation of the debt they owe to the molds for such common products as penicillin, wine, and bread. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691070162

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Mushrooms magically spew forth from the earth in the hours that follow a summer rain. Fuzzy brown molds mischievously turn forgotten peaches to slime in the kitchen fruit bowl. And in thousands of other ways, members of the kingdom Fungi do their part to make life on Earth the miracle that it is. In this lively book, George Hudler leads us on a tour of an often-overlooked group of organisms, which differ radically from both animals and plants. Along the way the author stops to ponder the marvels of nature and the impact of mere microbes on the evolution of civilization. Nature s ultimate recyclers not only save us from drowning in a sea of organic waste, but also provide us with food, drink, and a wide array of valuable medicines and industrial chemicals. Some fungi make deadly poisons and psychedelic drugs that have interesting histories in and of themselves, and Hudler weaves tales of those into his scientific account of the nature of the fungi. The role of fungi in the Irish potato famine, in the Salem Witch Trials, in the philosophical writings of Greek scholars, and in the creation of ginger snaps are just a few of the many great moments in history to grace these pages. Hudler moves so easily from discussing human history to exploring scientific knowledge, all with a sense of humor and enthusiasm, that one can well understand why he is an award-winning teacher both at Cornell University as well as nationally. Few, for instance, who read his invitation to get out of your chair and take a short walk will ever again look without curiosity and admiration at the rotten part of the world around them. Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds is full of information that will satisfy history buffs, science enthusiasts, and anyone interested in nature s miracles. Everyone in Hudler s audience will develop a new appreciation of the debt they owe to the molds for such common products as penicillin, wine, and bread. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780691070162

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