Books  Evolutionary Biology  Evolutionary Biology 

Life Explained

By: Michel Morange, Matthew Cobb and Malcolm DeBevoise

205 pages, no illustrations

Yale University Press

Paperback | Nov 2009 | #183674 | ISBN-13: 9780300158502
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £11.99 $15/€13 approx
Hardback | Jan 2009 | #176353 | ISBN-13: 9780300137323
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £17.99 $22/€20 approx

About this book

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.

Morange approaches the question 'what is life' thoughtfully and with an open mind. He accepts what seems sensible and rejects that which is overblown or confusing.--William C. Summers, Yale University
--William C. Summers

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Michel Morange is professor of biology at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, where he directs the Centre Cavailles for the History and Philosophy of Science. He is the author of The Misunderstood Gene and A History of Molecular Biology, and has published many articles in scientific journals. Matthew Cobb is senior lecturer in animal behaviour at the University of Manchester. Malcolm DeBevoise has translated some thirty works from French in all branches of scholarship.

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