Life Evolving: Molecules, Mind, and Meaning

Hardcover | September 15, 2002

byChristian De Duve

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In just a half century, humanity has made an astounding leap in its understanding of life. Now, one of the giants of biological science, Christian de Duve, discusses what we've learned in this half century, ranging from the tiniest cells to the future of our species and of life itself. With wide-ranging erudition, de Duve takes us on a dazzling tour of the biological world, beginning with the invisible workings of the cell, the area in which he won his Nobel Prize. He describes how the first cells may have arisen and suggests that they may have been like the organisms that existtoday near deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Contrary to many other scientists, he argues that life was bound to arise and that it probably only took millennia--maybe tens of thousands of years--to move from rough building blocks to the first organisms possessing the basic properties of life. With equalauthority, De Duve examines topics such as the evolution of humans, the origins of consciousness, the development of language, the birth of science, and the origin of emotion, morality, altruism, and love. He concludes with his conjectures on the future of humanity--for instance, we may evolve,perhaps via genetic engineering, into a new species--and he shares his personal thoughts about God and immortality. In Life Evolving, one of our most eminent scientists sums up what he has learned about the nature of life and our place in the universe. An extraordinarily wise and humane volume, it will fascinate readers curious about the world around them and about the impact of science on philosophy andreligion.

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In just a half century, humanity has made an astounding leap in its understanding of life. Now, one of the giants of biological science, Christian de Duve, discusses what we've learned in this half century, ranging from the tiniest cells to the future of our species and of life itself. With wide-ranging erudition, de Duve takes us on a...

Christian de Duve won the Nobel Prize in 1974 for his work on the organization of the cell. One of the best-known pioneers of cell biology, he is head of the Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology. He is the author of Vital Dust: Life as a Cosmic Imperative, Blueprint for a Cell: The Nature and Origins of Life, and A Guided...

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Format:HardcoverPublished:September 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195156056

ISBN - 13:9780195156058

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. What is Life? (a: Chemistry)2. What is Life? (b: Information)3. Where Does Life Come From?4. How Did Life Arise? (a: The Way to RNA)5. How Did Life Arise? (b: From RNA to Protein-DNA)6. How Did Life Arise? (c: The Birth of Cells)7. The History of Life8. The Invisible World of Bacteria9. The Mysterious Birth of Eukaryotes (a: The Problem)10. The Mysterious Birth of Eukaryotes (b: A Possible Pathway)11. The Visible Revolution12. The Arrow of Evolution13. Becoming Human14. The Riddle of the Brain15. Reshaping Life16. After Us, What?17. Are We Alone?18. How About God in All That?

Editorial Reviews

"A well-written, engaging scientific tour de force.... de Duve exhibits an extraordinary skill in conveying his deep knowledge of biology.... Both a first-rate scholar and an accomplished popularizer of science...de Duve moves with equal familiarity and eloquence from scientific papers to Frenchpoets.... Life Evolving forces the reader to avoid intellectual complacency and to articulate one's own arguments to effectively address his position. These are, in themselves, major reasons to appreciate the book."--Science"This book is addressed to the educated lay person interested in the origin of life, its evolution to the present day and its philosophical implications. The reader is in for a treat of unsurpassed lucid and poetic writing. It is the testament of one of the great biologist-philosophers of ourtime."--Gunter Blobel, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine"An original thinker and graceful writer, Christian de Duve is an E.O. Wilson for the cell. In Life Evolving, De Duve lays bare the molecular machinery of life, finding both explanation of our evolutionary past and signs of what it will mean to be human in the twenty-first century."--Andrew H.Knoll, Fisher Professor of Natural History, Harvard University