Bringing Chemistry to Life: From Matter to Man

Hardcover | November 11, 1999

byR. J. P. Williams, J. J. R. Frausto da Silva

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In this book the authors describe the long journey from formless inanimate matter to man, while explaining the nature and the logic of the physical-chemical processes involved, and stressing the limitations of reductionist analyses of these processes as complexity increases and novelproperties emerge. In particular the authors develop the idea that it was chemical change of the environment that allowed evolution of life to occur and that this evolution required successive addition of new message systems and information codes connected, compatible, and cooperative with previousextant systems. To do this the authors analyse the relationship between chemical element content and speciation both in inanimate and living systems in terms of fundamental units and variables, or composite (derived) units and variables. Through such analyses the authors conclude that chemicalspeciation is very much a matter of chemical cooperativity (order versus disorder) while biological speciation requires cooperative flow of chemicals and energy (organisation versus disorder). They argue that chance mutations of DNA are far too simple to provide a basis for evolution and biologicaldiversity, though it is a representation of such diversity. It is the survival strength of systems of molecular machinery which separate and generate living species. In the final chapter they analyse the effect of man's activities on the present global and local ecosystems and speculate on thepossible nature of the emergent properties to be expected from an ever-increasing complexity of information-based modern societies.

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In this book the authors describe the long journey from formless inanimate matter to man, while explaining the nature and the logic of the physical-chemical processes involved, and stressing the limitations of reductionist analyses of these processes as complexity increases and novelproperties emerge. In particular the authors develop...

R. J. P. Williams is at Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, Oxford. J. J. R. Frausto da Silva is at Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisbon.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:November 11, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198505469

ISBN - 13:9780198505464

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Table of Contents

PrefaceUnits of Energy and Work and the Values of Some Physical ConstantsAcknowledgements1. The Development of Man's Ideas Concerning Nature2. Forces and Related Energies3. Electrons in Atoms and their Energetics4. Ordering and Stability of Atom and Component Associations5. The Balance Between Order and Disorder6. Dilute Solutions and Order-Disorder Balance7. Systems with Boundaries: Compartments8. Change and Its Control9. The Evolution of Earth10. The Principles of the Chemistry of Living Systems11. Early Life: Anaerobic Prokaryotes12. The Development of Anaerobic Organisation: From Prokaryotes to Eukaryotes13. The Coming of Dioxygen: Unicellular Organisms14. The Coming of Multicellular Organisms15. The Evolution of Man and His Chemistry16. Survey and ConclusionsFurther ReadingIndex

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'demonstates how chemical changes in the environment enabled evolution to occur and shows the relationship between living organisms, including man and the world of chemicals' Sciences de la vie