Panic in Level 4

Panic in Level 4

Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
4
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Dramatic true stories about the frightening forces and constructive discoveries that are currently roiling and reordering our world.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400064908
1400064902
Branch Call Number: 616.024 P939p 2008
Characteristics: xli, 188 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Originally published in the New Yorker, these essays from the author of The Hot Zone, explore his fascination with contagion and epidemic. The "panic" of the book's title refers to his own when his biohazard suit was breached and he feared he may have been exposed to one of the deadlies... Read More »

Presents a series of compelling accounts of human beings confronting death on a vast scale and the scientists and researchers who work to unlock the mystery of these deadly afflictions.


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zipread
May 30, 2017

Those of you who have read any of Preston's other books, most notably "The Hot Zone" will already know that Preston's "non-fiction" often reads like the best of some author's fiction. You find yourself pinching yourself: "surely this can't be for real?"
Panic in Level 4 starts with a visit to a Level 4 containment lab. Preston gets it down to the details: the "space suit"; the sound of the zipper opening and closing; the palpable fear when the suit punctures.
And then there the Russian emigre brothers who build their own super computer from mail order parts in their apartment. All this to calculate the Value of Pi to over a billion decimal places. It's so big it heats their whole apartment. And again, the novelist in Pearson describes the brothers in excruciating detail down the the very socks they wear.
Panic in Level 4 delves into science as opposed to science fiction, in a most gripping, thrilling, manner.
Preston definitely makes the case that fact is stranger than fiction.

kmcinto Jul 26, 2013

Very, very good book to read! You tell the author really does his homework & tries to give his readers a descriptive environment with the people he meets. even the introduction was particularly interesting with the actual title of the book.
However this book is broken up into 6 different categories: intro of the level 4 unknown virus, two brothers building a supercomputer, trees in America that are under the threat of foreign parasites, the Ebola virus, the discussion of a unicorn quilt made back in the 1500s, & the self cannibalism genetic disease. So there's a little bit of something for everyone's interest.

He tries to spice the stories up with humor and really is informative with each one. I didn't think I was going to enjoy the tree one in particular, but it did grab my attention unlike the the story about the 2 brothers building a supercomputer. I am not interested what so ever into mathematics or computers, but that's okay. It doesn't ruin my enjoyment of reading the other tales he has researched.

a
andromolek
Jan 04, 2012

Very interesting read, Panic in Level 4 manages to be funny, serious, and informative all at the same time. A very interesting read if you have the time or the interest in more obscure medical mysteries, though it does delve into the world of computers. I particularly liked the story about the two brothers who built a super computer out of mail order parts in an apartment in new york.

g
Geophile
Aug 19, 2008

An entertaining, highly readable collection of essays on varied science topics. Slanted towards biology, with stories on genetics, disease, and invasive species, but also touches on mathematics and computers.

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