The Curious World of Bacteria

The Curious World of Bacteria

279 pages, 50 Images

Hardcover with numerous illustrations

Genre: Nonfiction, Biology, Essay, Nature Writing, Nature, Picture Book
„Animals and plants are coming and going. Bacteria are staying.“ Ludger Weß

Bacteria were the first life on Earth. But what do we really know about them? In this captivating, science-driven book, you’ll learn everything you need to know about these often misunderstood—and incredibly interesting—microbes.

In this engagingly written and scientifically rigorous book, author and scientist Ludger Wess introduces an eclectic collection of impressive, useful, weird, and dangerous bacterial species. Wess reveals everything he knows about bacteria, including their ability to survive almost anywhere, to “sleep” for millions of years before becoming active again, to maintain their own immune systems (a discovery that has led to medical breakthroughs for humans), and to—hypothetically—live on other planets.

In part two, Wess moves on to his curious compendium of bacterial species, presenting fifty fascinating portraits grouped by useful categories: bacteria that are record holders, extreme-habitat dwellers, unusual consumers, people-helpers, and people-harmers. Beautiful black-and-white illustrations accompany each portrait. At the end of this engrossing read, Wess recognizes how much we still don’t know about bacteria. But by starting herewe can come closer to understanding the first life on Earth.

German title: Winzig, zäh und zahlreich - Ein Bakterienatlas
ISBN: 978-3-95757-842-6
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz Berlin
Publication date: 2020
Print run: 2
Series: Naturkunden Vol. 062
Illustration: Falk Nordmann
Sold to: South Korea, Italy, Taiwan, United States

Sample translation

Complete English translation available

Ludger Weß, born in Dorsten in 1954, studied chemistry and biology, worked as a researcher in the field of molecular developmental biology and began writing about science in the 1980s. 

"In varied, lively portraits, the author actually succeeds in giving individual species of bacteria something of a personal touch and immersing the unimaginably tiny life forms in an aura of likeability and fascination [...] It is a wild, alien world that opens up here - congenially illustrated by Falk Nordmann. He shows the hairy little plates, ciliated balls and flagellum-covered sticks on full-page colour pictures as real character types. [...] Great!
- Susanne Billig, Deutschlandfunk Kultur