Life Explained

Life Explained

by Michel Morange
     
 

ISBN-10: 030013732X

ISBN-13: 9780300137323

Pub. Date: 11/25/2008

Publisher: Yale University Press

Fifty years ago Francis Crick and James D. Watson proposed the double helix model for the DNA molecule. They believed they had, as Crick put it, discovered the “secret of life,” and many agreed. But in the intervening years, science has marched—sometimes leaped—forward, and now the question “What is life?” must be posed once again.

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Overview

Fifty years ago Francis Crick and James D. Watson proposed the double helix model for the DNA molecule. They believed they had, as Crick put it, discovered the “secret of life,” and many agreed. But in the intervening years, science has marched—sometimes leaped—forward, and now the question “What is life?” must be posed once again.

In this accessible and fascinating book, Michel Morange draws on recent advances in molecular genetics, evolutionary biology, astrobiology, and other disciplines to find today’s answers to the question of life. He begins by discussing the various answers that have been formulated in the past, setting contemporary definitions of life within a rich philosophical and scientific tradition that reaches back to ancient Greece. Then, with impeccable logic and a wealth of appropriate detail, Morange proceeds to lay out the fundamental characteristics that define life. The road to an understanding of life remains incompletely charted, he concludes, but the nature of its final destination is no longer an enigma.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300137323
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
11/25/2008
Series:
An Editions Odile Jacob Book Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
8.54(w) x 5.74(h) x 0.79(d)

Table of Contents


Pt. I The Death and Resurrection of Life 1
1 The Twilight of Life 3
2 Life as Genetic Information 9
3 The Return of Life 16 Pt. II The Question in Historical Perspective 25
4 A Rich Heritage 27
5 Contemporary Answers 35 Pt. III Contributions of Current Research 47
6 Looking for Life's Past 49
7 Retracing the Path of Life 59
8 Reading the Palimpsest of Life 72
9 Life Under Extreme Conditions 78
10 The Search for a Minimal Genome 85
11 Astrobiological Investigations 90
12 Life as a Living System 101 Pt. IV A Few Necessarily Provisional Conclusions 111
13 Objections and Replies 113
14 Darwinism in Its Proper Place 121
15 The Lure of Complexity 133
16 The Three Pillars of Life 141 Bibliography 179 Index 197

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