Learning about cells is not a new happening. Robert Hooke saw rectangular objects he called cells through a microscope in 1665 and ever since people have been fascinated with very small units of life.
Many observations about cells have to be made using image enlarging devices or equipment and experiments through which the working of cells can be observed indirectly.
This is just what you could do now!
Something to do
Great fun can be had by looking at small organisms. Probably one of the best and easiest to watch is the development of the nearly transparent eggs of pond snail. If you have a large jar or aquarium containing pond water, weed and pond snails it will normally not be long before eggs will be laid on the glass surface. A good magnifying glass will help your observations.
When you have finished making your observations put the water and snails back in a pond.
As a student most of your learning will of necessity be indirect through books, CDs and the Internet. Here are some suggestions:
Learning for students up to about 10 – 12 years
In your school or public library you will find books and possibly ideos and CDs about the human body and health (Dewey system class mark No. 612.0) These items will almost certainly contain something about cells such as skin and blood.
Information about animal and plant cells in general will be found shelved under Dewey system No. 574.8. The following books may be in the library. The first two are unfortunately now out-of-print.
- ‘Cells are Us’ and ‘Cell Wars’ both books by Fran Balkwill and Mic Rolph and published by Portland Press
- ‘The Cell’ by F Haltay. Published by Cherrytree Books in 1996
- ‘The Human Body’ by M Rose. Published by Macdonald in 1997
http://www.kapili.com/ – You may well enjoy looking at the following big website. This address will take you to the home page.
Learning for students from about age 11/12 years to about 18 yrs
It is difficult to suggest learning resources for a particular age group because whether you can cope with a particular item depends on how keen you are, how much previous knowledge you have and whether you have personal help available. This section could be for people age “8 to 80+”.
Just a warning. However keen you are, be wary of trying to read something in which the technical language is clearly harder than you can reasonably cope with. You will waste time, it may cause confusion, and worse still it may put you off further study. One day you will read it with ease!
There are an increasing number of good websites available but you will have to spend time searching for just what you want. Many of the Web titles and addresses are not very specific and you need to go to the individual site menu for details. Some general sites are listed below.
School biology text books for GCSE , AS and A2 level are a good start and one or two are found in almost every school and public library. A visit to a large bookshop will also help. The following titles represent the range available:
- Kent, M. Advanced Biology. Publ: Oxford University Press 2000. ISBN 0-19-914195-9
- Clegg, J. Introduction to Advanced Biology. Publ: John Murray 2000. ISBN 0-7195-7671-7
The following books are more focused, at least in part, on cell biology.
- Adds, J Larkcom, E and Miller R. ‘Cell Biology and Genetics’ (Advanced Modular Science Series). Publ: Nelson 1996 ISBN 0-17-448266-3
- Clegg, C. J . ‘Mammals: Structure & Function’ Publ: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-7551-6.
- Jones, M and Jones, G. ‘Student Support Material for Edexel AS Biology – Unit 1: Molecules and Cells’. Publ: Collins. ISBN 0-00-327712-7
The following texts are aimed at college/university students but could be useful to others. Do not be overwhelmed! Read only ‘bite size’ sections. The book list is in alphabetical order by author, and most volumes have CDs or media connections.
- Alberts, B., Bray, D et.al. (8 authors)
‘Essential Cell Biology’ 3rd edition 2010.
Publ: Garland Science (Taylor & Francis Group). ISBN 978-0-8153-4130-7 (p/bk.)
- Alberts, B. et. al. (6 authors)
‘Molecular Biology of the Cell’ 5th edition 2008.
Publ: Garland Science(Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 978-0-8153-4106-2 Part print, part DVD-ROM p/bk (also available as h/bk). An ‘all print’ Reference Edition is also available in h/bk, ISBN 978-0-8153-4111-6
- Cooper, G M & Hausman, R E
‘The Cell: A Molecular Approach’ 5th edition 2009.
Publ: Sinauer Associates Inc.(Palgrave Macmillan in UK). 978-0-87893-300-6 (h/bk)
- Karp, G.
‘Cell & Molecular Biology: Concepts and Experiments’ 5th edition 2007.
Publ: J. Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-46580-1 (hbk)
- Lewin, B et. al. (4 editors) ‘Cells’ 1st edition 2007
Publishers: Jones and Bartlett Publishers Inc.
ISBN: o-7637-3905-7 (h/bk).
- Lodish, H et. al. (8 authors)
‘Molecular Cell Biology’ 6th edition 200t
Publ: W H Freeman.
ISBN 0-7167-4366-3 (h/bk)
- Pollard, T.D., Earnshaw, W. C & Lippincott-Schwartz, Jennifer
Cell Biology, 2nd Edition
June 2007. Publ: Elsevier. ISBN: 1-4160-2255-4 (Hd/bk only)
- Bolsover, R.S. et. al. (5 authors)
‘Cell Biology, A Short Course’ 2nd edition 2004.
Publ: Wiley-Liss ISBN: 0-471-26393-1 (p/bk)
There are many hundreds if not thousansds of websites in the bioscience field with nearly every laboratory having its own ‘Home Page’. Links to these and many other sites can be made through the BSCB website. Here are the names of a few sites that have a more general approach to cell biology.
http://cellpics.cimr.cam.ac.uk – this site, linked to softCELL uses GridPoint cross hairs technology to provide interactive interpretation of images.
http://cellimages.ascb.org – Good still and video images from the images section of our sister society in America, the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB).
http://medphoto.wellcome.ac.uk – ‘Wellcome Images’ is the name of the huge image library of the Wellcome Trust. A fascinating and free-to-view and on-line collection, but it is especially useful if you have an idea of what you to view or you will browse and browse! Many of the images interpreted using our CELLpics GridPoint technology come from Wellcome Images.
http://vl.bwh.harvard.edu – This is the site of the www virtual library of cell biology
http://www.cellsalive.com/students.htm – The ‘Cellsalive’ site has some interesting video pictures
http://www.hhmi.org – This is the excellent site of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. It has an interesting section called ‘Ask a Scientist’ and ‘Question of the Week’, in its molecular biology field.
http://www.biology4all.com/ – ‘biology4all’ is a good UK site with lots of news, things to do and many Web links. Endorsed by the Biosciences Federation.
http://www.biochem4schools.org – This is a good portal site and lists many bioscience sites together with applicability icons and a useful brief comment.
Just interested in cell biology….. but not for a career
If your interest is of a general nature the books and websites mentioned above are still applicable. In addition you may well find that the following organisations put on occasional lectures or short courses that include cell biology:
- University Extra-mural Departments
- The Worker’s Education Association (WEA)
- Local Science Societies and Natural History Societies
- Museum Organisations and Science Exhibition Centres
And in London:
- The Royal Society (The RS holds many free lectures)
- The Royal Institution
- The Wellcome Trust (mainly exhibitions)