the vital question energy evolution and the origins of complex life

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The Vital Question Energy Evolution And The Origins Of Complex Life

Author : Nick Lane
ISBN : 9780393248197
Genre : Science
File Size : 75. 28 MB
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“One of the deepest, most illuminating books about the history of life to have been published in recent years.” —The Economist The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there’s a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists. For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen? The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane’s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths. Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life’s vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?

The Vital Question

Author : Nick Lane
ISBN : 9781847658807
Genre : Science
File Size : 31. 36 MB
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Why is life the way it is? Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth-and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death. If life evolved on other planets, would it be the same or completely different? In The Vital Question, Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a cogent solution to conundrums that have troubled scientists for decades. The answer, he argues, lies in energy: how all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a bolt of lightning. In unravelling these scientific enigmas, making sense of life's quirks, Lane's explanation provides a solution to life's vital questions: why are we as we are, and why are we here at all? This is ground-breaking science in an accessible form, in the tradition of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.

Life Ascending

Author : Nick Lane
ISBN : 9781847652225
Genre : Science
File Size : 84. 77 MB
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Winner of the 2010 Royal Society Prize for science books Powerful new research methods are providing fresh and vivid insights into the makeup of life. Comparing gene sequences, examining the atomic structure of proteins and looking into the geochemistry of rocks have all helped to explain creation and evolution in more detail than ever before. Nick Lane uses the full extent of this new knowledge to describe the ten greatest inventions of life, based on their historical impact, role in living organisms today and relevance to current controversies. DNA, sex, sight and consciousnesses are just four examples. Lane also explains how these findings have come about, and the extent to which they can be relied upon. The result is a gripping and lucid account of the ingenuity of nature, and a book which is essential reading for anyone who has ever questioned the science behind the glories of everyday life.

Life S Engines

Author : Paul G. Falkowski
ISBN : 9781400865727
Genre : Science
File Size : 40. 73 MB
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For almost four billion years, microbes had the primordial oceans all to themselves. The stewards of Earth, these organisms transformed the chemistry of our planet to make it habitable for plants, animals, and us. Life's Engines takes readers deep into the microscopic world to explore how these marvelous creatures made life on Earth possible—and how human life today would cease to exist without them. Paul Falkowski looks "under the hood" of microbes to find the engines of life, the actual working parts that do the biochemical heavy lifting for every living organism on Earth. With insight and humor, he explains how these miniature engines are built—and how they have been appropriated by and assembled like Lego sets within every creature that walks, swims, or flies. Falkowski shows how evolution works to maintain this core machinery of life, and how we and other animals are veritable conglomerations of microbes. A vibrantly entertaining book about the microbes that support our very existence, Life’s Engines will inspire wonder about these elegantly complex nanomachines that have driven life since its origin. It also issues a timely warning about the dangers of tinkering with that machinery to make it more "efficient" at meeting the ever-growing demands of humans in the coming century.

In Search Of Cell History

Author : Franklin M. Harold
ISBN : 9780226174280
Genre : Science
File Size : 59. 87 MB
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Cell origin remains one of the most fundamental problems in biology, and over the last decade it has spawned a large body of literature and debate. Franklin Harold has synthesized this literature not to promote his own views of cell origin but to impartially present the current research on the topic along with the controversies that keep the field in turmoil. In accessible language that assumes only a basic knowledge of cell biology, he shows how far we ve come in understanding cell evolutionand the origins of life in generaland how far we have to go before we can completely comprehend it. After introducing cell theory, Harold explores such wide-ranging topics as the construction of a universal tree of life; controversies over the Last Universal Common Ancestor s exact nature and place in cell history; the evolution of cellular organization; and the origin and evolution of complex cells. The final chapters of the book explore the early origins of life and the evolutionary implications of cellular evolution."

Life S Greatest Secret

Author : Matthew Cobb
ISBN : 9781782830023
Genre : History
File Size : 57. 62 MB
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Life's Greatest Secret is the story of the discovery and cracking of the genetic code. This great scientific breakthrough has had far-reaching consequences for how we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world. The code forms the most striking proof of Darwin's hypothesis that all organisms are related, holds tremendous promise for improving human well-being, and has transformed the way we think about life. Matthew Cobb interweaves science, biography and anecdote in a book that mixes remarkable insights, theoretical dead-ends and ingenious experiments with the pace of a thriller. He describes cooperation and competition among some of the twentieth century's most outstanding and eccentric minds, moves between biology, physics and chemistry, and shows the part played by computing and cybernetics. The story spans the globe, from Cambridge MA to Cambridge UK, New York to Paris, London to Moscow. It is both thrilling science and a fascinating story about how science is done.

What Is Life

Author : Addy Pross
ISBN : 9780199641017
Genre : Science
File Size : 78. 6 MB
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Seventy years ago, Erwin Schrödinger posed a profound question: 'What is life, and how did it emerge from non-life?' Scientists have puzzled over it ever since. Addy Pross uses insights from the new field of systems chemistry to show how chemistry can become biology, and that Darwinian evolution is the expression of a deeper physical principle.

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