The Cycle of Life:
An History of Experimental Ecology

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Serge Winogradsky, Microbiologie du Sol; Problèmes et Méthodes--Cinquante ans de Recherches (Paris: Masson, 1949).

In 1949, at the age of 93, Sergei Nikolaevich Vinogradskii made one final effort to establish his legacy in the history of science. He concluded his scientific career by synthesizing his life's work in a 900-page compendium entitled (in French) Soil Microbiology: Problems and Methods, Fifty Years of Investigations. He entitled his book Soil Microbiology, but, revealingly, he structured it as a history of his contributions to ecology. Organizing it thematically, according to research subject, he consistently directed his readers to the ecological significance of his work. As a final statement of this, he ended his tome with an essay on "The Principles of Ecological Microbiology, A Synthesis." Writing in 1945, Vinogradskii traced "the remote origin of this new branch of the grand microbiological science" to Louis Pasteur's concept of "the role of the 'infiniment petits' in nature." Vinogradskii understood what historians of science have only begun to understand-that ecology owes a substantial debt to microbiology.

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