Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology

Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology : From Metaphor to Theory

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This fascinating intellectual history is the first critical study of the work of Elie Metchnikoff, the founding father of modern immunology. Metchnikoff authored and championed the theory that phagocytic cells actively defend the host body against pathogens and diseased cells. In this scientific biography, Tauber and Chernyak explore Metchnikoff's development as an embryologist, showing how it prepared him to propose his theory of host-pathogen interaction. They discuss the profound impact of Darwin's theory of evolution on his progress, and the influence of 19th century debates on vitalism, teleology, and mechanism. As a case study of scientific discovery, this work offers lucid insight into the process of creative science and its dependence on cultural and philosophic sources.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 266 pages
  • 154.9 x 228.6 x 14mm | 731.54g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 019506447X
  • 9780195064476

Review quote

a very important work ... a fascinating glimpse into the world of geology and immunology in Russia since the end of the last century ... a welcome addition to the growing English language sources on this neglected field of scientific endeavour * Christopher Williams, University of Central Lancashire * the book Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology provides an excellent example of the fruitful approach to the history of science ... It can serve both as a comprehensive biography of the great scientist and an interesting case study of one of the brightest discoveries in biology. It also contributes greatly to our understanding of the history of biology and the deep historical roots of modern immunology; this feature distinguishes the book from standard biographical literature and makes it especially useful for everybody interested in immunology and related fields. * Boris Reizis, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, Molecular Immunology, Vol. 29, No. 10, 1992 * It is a thorough study of the life of Metchnikoff, supplemented with extensive citations from his works and other biographical literature, including the original Russian source ... the book Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology provides an excellent example of the fruitful approach to the history of science ... especially useful for everybody interested in immunology and related fields. * Boris Reizis, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, Molecular Immunology, Vol. 29, No. 10, 1992 * Tauber and Chernyak have written an important book ... this book offers a rich reward. * Times Higher Education Supplement * This book has the merit of exposing the originality of Metchnikoff's claims by setting them against examples from the orthodox literature of the period. Tauber and Chernyak have written an important book. . . , this book offers a rich reward. * Times Higher Education Supplement * The richness of this book is due to a fruitful interaction between the American immunologist Tauber and the Russian philosopher Leon Chernyak... An absorbing book for historians of science and medicine as well as professional immunologists. * Aslib Book Guide * In their important, original, and, indeed, definitive contribution to the history of science and philosphy, the authors ... meticulously trace the evolution of these radical and generally misunderstood ideas ... careful and thorough scholarship ... this well-crafted book also provides tactile and visual pleasure. * Debra Jan Bibel, University of California, ASM News, Vol. 58, No. 2, 1992 * Tauber and Chernyak have produced a scholarly and detailed study of the origins of the deep and long controversy between the cellular and humoral basis of immunity. * Fred S. Rosen, Harvard Medical School, Nature, Vol 356, 12 March 1992 *show more

Back cover copy

This fascinating scientific biography is the first critical study of the work of Elie Metchnikoff, the founding father of modern immunology. Metchnikoff authored and championed the theory phagocytic cells actively defend the host body against pathogens and disease. It was the first theory of active immunity, but only a segment of an encompassing theory of self hood achieved through self-defining, dynamic processes.show more

Table of contents

Foreword; Preface; Introduction; Metchnikoff's early embryology; Metchnikoff's embryological studies after 1872; The problem of evolution in Metchnikoff's works; Metchnikoff's emerging concept of inflammation; The phagocytosis theory and its reception; The phagocyte eclipsed; Epilogue: From metaphor to theory; Notes and references; Appendix A: Morphologists vs. Darwinians, the modern debate; Appendix B: Current views of phagocyte function.show more

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