This book uses modern biological knowledge to tackle the question of what distinguishes living organisms from the non-living world. The authors first draw on recent advances in cell and molecular biology to develop an account of the living state that applies to all organisms (and only to organisms). This account is then used to explore questions about evolution, the origin of life, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. The novel approach taken by this book to issues in biology will interest and be accessible to both the general reader as well as students and specialists in the field.
From the reviews: I have read some of the chapters and I am most impressed. It is well written, scholarly and deals with the subject in "4-D" i.e. not as we know it now but as knowledge developed in time. For me, who has lived through the development of the subject since the late 1960s and reviewed the literature as far back as Hippocrates, it was like reading a novel that I could not put down. Prof. A Nicolaides MS FRCS "This delightfully written book addresses major questions and some of the biggest ideas in biology today. ! The book is moderately well-illustrated with photomicrographs and line drawings ! . The book includes numerous insightful analogies and covers somewhat offbeat topics that an instructor could easily adapt to enliven classroom presentations. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above." (P. E. Hertz, CHOICE, Vol. 45 (2), 2007)
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