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To Know A Fly

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  80 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Paperback, 119 pages
Published 1962 by Holden-Day
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Lilyan (Little Yams)
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it

This book was surprisingly hilarious. Dethier had these witty, comical comments and they made me laugh. The novel starts out talking about how why we should test on flies and how it’s an obvious choice because they’re always here-like taxes. There’s also the fact that it would save so much space, money, and time. While he gives us facts and statistics, he also put in little anecdotes about his past experiences.

“Have you even trie
Michelle B
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was really interesting to read. I don't really know what I expected from it, but I was rather surprised. It was funny and creative, and I really liked it. To Know a Fly by Vincent Dethier is about basic experiments that explain the behavior of flies in a way I've never really seen before.

I give this book a four out of five stars, because I really enjoyed how it took a topic I had no interest in and made it into something actually worth reading. The author is funny and makes you actuall
Chinmayee Lm
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An honest writing by a scientist, introducing the fun in doing science. Various simply ingenious experiments to understand complex behaviours of flies has been elaborated in a captivating manner. With funny drawings of scenarios, this short book on "knowing flies" is thought provoking and enjoyable. Do read it and you might want to read it all over again :-)
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
While reading another book entirely, I was reminded of this one. It took a few moments to dig out of the archive that is our spare room but the effort was well worth it. Funny and entertaining, but, above all, a great introduction to the scientific method. And through the reading you will learn something about flies.

Okay, maybe all these years later I find some of the experiments kind of creepy. But I'll always have that image of exercising the little buggers by taking them down the hall on a st
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the many books I have read as the result of answering a reference question and that make me glad I am a librarian--I might have never known about this delightful little book otherwise! A Penn State alumna came to the reference desk and said the she was trying to find "a really funny book about doing research with flies" that her professor had shared with the class when she was a PSU student. That is the kind of reference question a librarian just has to answer--"a funny book about ...more
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
"To know the fly is to share a bit in the sublimity of Knowledge. That is the challenge and the joy of science."

This book is a fascinating look into the realm of science and how the scientist goes about discovering the beauty & wonder of the natural world. Filled with humor, Professor Dethier does an amazing job of informing his audience of not only the complexities of the fly, but the methods by which scientists go about their work. For anyone interested in a behind-the-scenes look into the
Tasneem Ebrahim
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-class
Such a light, funny, and smart book! I loved it! And I loved how Dethier introduces complex scientific concepts, research, and experimental design through very simple, straightforward examples. This books appears to be about getting to know a fly by means of scientific research, but it's really about how scientists think, and more importantly, WHY they think and research. As he puts it: "perhaps to know a fly, one must also know the scientist."
Arseny Khakhalin
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book, and it reads surprisingly well. The only sign of age really is the use of pronouns (the scientist is always "he", even despite the fact that female science students are mentioned several times). This is annoying, but other than that, a great book, and a good solid, yet short introduction to neuroethology.
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this while working in a spider collection in Seattle. The curator had a collection of really old books and the title of this caught my eye. It was a GREAT book to read. The experiments are barbaric but fascinating.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've read this book before, and I even did some of the experiments that were described inside. Hard to believe that an entomology book could be laugh-out-loud funny. I recommend it highly to anyone. It's a short read. Very short. Try it. You just might like it.
Abhijeet Krishna
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hilariously informative. It is a must read if you have thought about the irritating fly for even once in your life. You would also like it if you want to know about the mess that an experimental scientist's life is.
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Funniest thing I had to read when I was a Biology Major.
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully funny book! The mental image of taking a fly for a walk has stuck with me for 20 years. Highly recommended, and not just for biologists.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Grotesque, yet fascinating. If you've ever wondered what tax-payer money is funding in the realm of fly-science, look no further.
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Truly inspiring.
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Vincent Gaston Dethier was an American physiologist and entomologist. Considered a leading an expert in his field, he was a pioneer in the study of insect-plant interactions and wrote over 170 academic papers and 15 science books. From 1975 until his death, he was the Gilbert L. Woodside Professor of Zoology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he was the founding director of its Neuro ...more
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