To Know A Fly

Brief Synopsis
Mr. Vincent Dethier goes into great detail in describing the fly’s different aspect of life. The fly is very complex with many human like characteristics. “Flies and some people are very much alike in another respect; both prefer what taste good to what is nutritionally best,” was stated by the author proving these similar characteristics exist. Many experiments and observations were made through the course of this brook. Such experiments included: testing the flies eating habits, adaptation to their environment, the different purposes of sensor organs, the reasons for hunger, their unique language, exercise patterns involving light, and their brain complexity. He presented the fly in a way that most people couldn’t see the power and abilities a fly possesses.
Through the course of this book each of these aspects were explained in greater detail with experiments proving many theories and observations. The best definition for an experiment was provided by Dethier as, “An experiment is a scientist’s way of asking nature a question.” This would explain many reasons for such a desire people convey to science.

The author’s intent was to inform the reader of the misconceptions most common, non-scientist have about the scientific process. He provided a very clear approach to explain his research of the fly to a typical reader. The terminology was very simple and to the point. He stated it best, “The scientist who is great is the one who proposes a theory and then attempts to prove or disapprove it rather than the one who proposes a theory and then goes off grinning to greener pastures leaving to onerous job of proof or disproof to others.” The author did accomplish his intent to inform the reader of the aspects that a fly possesses. Through many laboratory reports numerous discoveries have been publicized making the world more enriched with scientific knowledge. But throughout all the experiments that were preformed to the flies, one thing remains unique about them. Unlike all other animals and creatures, the fly can not be trained even after 15 years. I found this a very interesting point, because in past experiments, a scientist has proven many ways to train animals to perform premeditated tasks. One instance was described as conditioning, when a scientist trained a dog to salivate to the ring of a bell. But unfortunately, there is not a conditioned response affiliated with the fly.

The author’s purpose of informing the reader was well achieved. I now have a new outlook about the purpose of the fly. Before I read this book, I felt flies didn’t have a purpose. They just fly around and become very annoying. But they do serve a purpose, with just as many functions and activities a human possesses. The most important things about flies are they are cheaper and more abundant in our society for scientists that do not have elaborate funds to experiment with. This fact proves very important when the experimenter doesn’t know the outcome or effect an experiment has on the tested individual.
I was very spectacle about reading a book called, “To Know A Fly.” But I feel the author did make a good attempt to add humor and situations that the average person could relate to. I did enjoy the way the author presented this information. His style of writing was direct and to the point. This made the reading and understanding of the text relaxing and enjoyable.
I would not recommend this book to friends, but I would recommend it to fellow classmates interested in experimental sciences. I feel that Professor Gordon picked an excellent book to portray the lifestyles and misconceptions of scientists.
I have gained a wide variety of information about the lifestyle and adaptation process a fly creates in his or her environment. Vincent Dethier said it best; “To know the fly is to share a bit in the sublimity of knowledge. That is the challenge and the joy of science.” In this statement, the purpose of this book is summed into two sentences. All humans have a desire to know and learn; proving science is an ideal subject that everyone has used. It’s just a matter of how you use it.