Welcome to Through the Microscope: an online microbiology textbook

Tired of paying high prices for your textbook? Feeling guilty for asking your students to shell out hundreds of dollars to get a decent reference to supplement your course? Well so was I! (I am Dr. Timothy Paustian by the way.) I have taught microbiology for over 20 years and in that time I have seen textbook prices skyrocket at rates much higher than the rate of inflation. When I was in college (it wasn't that long ago) a good quality textbook cost $30. Today a good quality textbook will cost you $140.00 and if you get it at the book store it will be even more! Well I got tired of this and decided to write one myself. With the help of Gary Roberts we created Through the Microscope, a brand new textbook written on and for the web. It contains 27 chapters covering general microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, microbial diversity, pathogensis and disease, and more. This is not just a hard-cover textbook that has been moved over to a web site. This was designed from the ground up to live on the web and take advantage of all the multimedia and interactive possibilities a web site can create. Want some examples? Click on any link in the bullet list below.

  • An animation explaining how enzymes speed reactions.
  • A demonstration of how chemical energy in NADH + H+ is converted into a proton motive force.
  • A quick check quiz to test your comprehension of the material you just read (scroll down to the bottom of the page).
  • A search function allowing you to find any topic that the book might cover. Try searching for ATP or your favorite microbe. Note that this will only show you results from Chapters 1, 2 and 15 which are open to the public.
  • A popup glossary. When reading a page, words that are defined in the glossary appear with a green highlighted background. If you mouse over those words, a definition pops up. Try it out in the history section on Robert Koch. You may need to scroll down a little to see some glossary words.
  • The ability to highlight sections in the text for later review. Come study time, the student can use the web site to call up all the sections that they have highlighted and they will be delivered on one study page. Each highlighted instance on this study page also has a link back to the text where it came from.
  • All new graphics illustrated by Kelsea Jewell, a professional graphic artist. Figure 15-26, taken from the textbook is an example of her handy work.

Some of you out there may be thinking, "I don't like to read things online, I want a book I can hold." I have you covered. A new hard copy edition of the textbook comes out every year as a compilation of the website and is available for purchase from lulu press. Purchase of the book includes a free subscription to the website, so you get the both of best worlds. A subscription to the web site also gets you access to an ebook, readable from any device that can handle the ePub format. This includes the iPad and many other digital readers. The book is also available in mobi format for the kindle.

Well this all sounds great, but how much? A 1 year subscription to the website is $30 and the book from lulu press costs $65 plus shipping and handling. If you are teaching a microbiology course, consider saving your students some cash, and get a top quality textbook.

And now a gift for those who have taken the time to read this far. For students, check out the quiz creator. This little function allows you to create self-test quizzes of your very own and can be used to help review material presented in each topic. If you are an instructor interested in reviewing the book, just ask for a free subscription by filling out the contact form.


Subscribe to the Book

You need to register first before you can subscribe to the book. To do this go to the registration page