A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life

A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life

by Ben McFarland

Hardcover(New Edition)

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A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life by Ben McFarland

A World From Dust describes how a set of chemical rules combined with the principles of evolution in order to create an environment in which life as we know it could unfold. Beginning with simple mathematics, these predictable rules led to the advent of the planet itself, as well as cells, organs and organelles, ecosystems, and increasingly complex life forms. McFarland provides an accessible discussion of a geological history as well, describing how the inorganic matter on Earth underwent chemical reactions with air and water, allowing for life to emerge from the world's first rocks. He traces the history of life all the way to modern neuroscience, and shows how the bioelectric signals that make up the human brain were formed. Most popular science books on the topic present either the physics of how the universe formed, or the biology of how complex life came about; this book's approach would be novel in that it condenses in an engaging way the chemistry that links the two fields. This book is an accessible and multidisciplinary look at how life on our planet came to be, and how it continues to develop and change even today.

This book includes 40 illustrations by Gala Bent, print artist and studio faculty member at Cornish College of the Arts, and Mary Anderson, medical illustrator.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190275013
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 04/04/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,245,454
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ben McFarland teaches biochemistry and chemistry at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle WA. He received a dual B.S. in Chemistry and Technical Writing from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in Biomolecular Structure and Design from the University of Washington. His research uses the rules of chemistry to redesign immune system proteins.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Arsenic Life?

Chapter 2: A Tapestry from Three Threads

Chapter 3: Unfolding the Periodic Table

Chapter 4: The Triple-Point Planet

Chapter 5: Seven Clues for Quickening the Rocks

Chapter 6: Wheels Within Wheels

Chapter 7: The Colorful Path to Oxygen

Chapter 8: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Chapter 9: Cracked Open and Knit Together by Oxygen

Chapter 10: The End of (Chemical) Evolution

Chapter 11: How Chemistry Shaped History, Through Words

Chapter 12: Cosmos and Chaos

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