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Life Evolving: Molecules, Mind, and Meaning

By: Christian de Duve

341 pages, 22 b/w illus

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Dec 2002 | #137755 | ISBN: 0195156056
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $33/€28 approx

About this book

Nobel Prize winner De Duve sums up what he has learned about the nature of life and our place in the universe. He describes how the first cells may have arisen and suggests that they may have been like the organisms that exist today near deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Contrary to many scientists, he argues that life was bound to arise and that it probably only took millennia to move from rough building blocks to the first organisms possessing the basic properties of life. He goes on to examine 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.

"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 Duve moves with equal familiarity and eloquence from scientific papers to French poets.... 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 our time."--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,


Introduction; 1. 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 Life; 8. The Invisible World of Bacteria; 9. The Mysterious Birth of Eukaryotes (a: The Problem); 10. The Mysterious Birth of Eukaryotes (b: A Possible Pathway); 11. The Visible Revolution; 12. The Arrow of Evolution; 13. Becoming Human; 14. The Riddle of the Brain; 15. Reshaping Life; 16. After Us, What?; 17. Are We Alone?; 18. How About God in All That?

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