Cobb, Matthew (Matthew J. Cobb)

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Cobb, Matthew (Matthew J. Cobb)

PERSONAL:

Male.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Michael Smith Bldg., Oxford Rd., Manchester M13 9PT, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, educator. Manchester University, Manchester, England, lecturer.

WRITINGS:

Generation: The 17th-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2006, published as The Egg and Sperm Race: The Seventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2006.

Contributor of articles to professional journals. Contributor of reviews to the Times Literary Supplement. Has translated several books.

SIDELIGHTS:

A lecturer on animal behavior at England's Manchester University, Matthew Cobb has also researched the history of biology and published numerous articles about seventeenth-century biology. Such research led to the writing of the 2006 title, Generation: The 17th-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth (published in England as The Egg and Sperm Race: TheSeventeenth-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth). In this work Cobb demonstrates that the understanding that babies are the result of the joining of a sperm and an egg came from a small group of scientists at work in the 1600s. These included the British anatomist William Harvey as well as Dutch researchers of the day, including Jan Swammerdam, Nils Stensen, Reinier de Graaf, and Anton Leeuwenhoek. The book was well received by critics and reviewers. Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor felt Generation is "an accessible account of a turning point in the history of physiology." Gilbert also noted that the work is "flavored with tales of rivalry among the scientists." Similarly, a Kirkus Reviews critic termed the same work "instructive and pleasing history," while a Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the "wealth of historical details" Cobb uses in the narrative. Further praise came from Natural History contributor Laurence A. Marschall, who noted, "Cobb's scholarship is as meticulous as the work of his protagonists, and it crackles with lively anecdotes from their scientific reports."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 1, 2006, Gilbert Taylor, review of Generation: The 17th-Century Scientists Who Unravelled the Secrets of Sex, Life and Growth, p. 22.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Generation, p. 612.

Lancet, December 23, 2006, Roger Cooter, review of Generation, p. 60.

Natural History, November, 2006, Laurence A. Marschall, review of Generation, p. 62.

Publishers Weekly, June 12, 2006, review of Generation, p. 44.

SciTech Book News, December, 2006, review of Generation.

ONLINE

Egg-and-Sperm.com,http://www.egg-and-sperm.com (April 9, 2007).

University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences Web site,http://www.ls.manchester.ac.uk/ (April 9, 2007), "Dr. Matthew Cobb."