This book is a vision of biology set within the entire timescale of the universe. It is about the timing of life, from microsecond movements to evolutionary changes over millions of years. Human consciousness is riveted to seconds, but a split-second time delay in perception means that we are unaware of anything until it has already happened. We live in the very recent past. Over longer timescales, Nature Fast and Nature Slow examines the lifespans of the oldest organisms, prospects for human life extension, the evolution of whales and turtles, and the explosive beginning of life 4 billion years ago. With its poetry, social commentary and humour, this book will appeal to everyone interested in the natural world.
1. Ballistics - Fractions of Seconds
2. Beats - Seconds
3. Bats - Minutes and Hours
4. Blossoms - Days, Weeks and Months
5. Broods - Years
6. Bears - Decades
7. Bowheads - Centuries
8. Bristlecones - Millennia
9. Basilosaurs - Millions of years
10. Beginnings - Billions of Years
Nicholas P. Money is Professor of Biology and Western Program Director at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is the author of popular science books on fungi and other microorganisms including, The Amoeba in the Room: Lives of the Microbes (2014), Mushrooms: A Natural and Cultural History (Reaktion, 2017) and The Selfish Ape: Human Nature and Our Path to Extinction (Reaktion, 2019).
"Nature Fast and Nature Slow seems more like a reflection on a lifespan than an argument; it is learned, wistful, and literate, assembling everything the author has learned in long research in mycology and voluminous reading in everything else, including John Milton. It reads almost like a valedictory to a career, though one hopes this impression is wrong, and there will be many more books ahead from Nik Money."
"This is a lovely concept, a cosmic zoom of biology, where the zoom is not in space but in time. Each chapter looks at biological actions that occur in a particular timeframe, starting with those that occur in a fraction of a second and running up to billions of years."
"I thought that this was a really clever way of looking at life on this planet. Taking each chapter as a step up in time gave me a great insight into the way that the natural world works and highlights the fact that we may feel we live a long time, but we are a mere snapshot compared to other lifeforms [...] a very readable science book on life and its rich and varied time [...] Well worth reading."
– Halfman, Halfbook
"After reading Nicholas P. Money's deeply fascinating book, I realised I was looking at the world around me in a completely different way. It takes the reader on a journey that starts with a fraction of a second and ends with a billion years, in a book about the passage of time that is different from any other I have ever read."
– Torbjørn Ekelund, author of In Praise of Paths: Walking Through Time and Nature