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What is life? Fifty years after physicist Erwin Schrodinger posed this question in his celebrated and inspiring book, the answer remains elusive. In The Way of the Cell, one of the world's most respected microbiologists draws on his wide knowledge of contemporary science to provide fresh insight into this intriguing and all-important question. What is the relationship of living things to the inanimate realm of chemistry and physics? How do lifeless but special chemicals come together to form those intricate dynamic ensembles that we recognize as life? To shed light on these questions, Franklin Harold focuses here on microorganisms--in particular, the supremely well-researched bacterium E. coli--because the cell is the simplest level of organization that manifests all the features of the phenomenon of life. Harold shows that as simple as they appear when compared to ourselves, every cell displays a dynamic pattern in space and time, orders of magnitude richer than its elements. It integrates the writhings and couplings of billions of molecules into a coherent whole, draws matter and energy into itself, constructs and reproduces its own order, and persists in this manner for numberless generations while continuously adapting to a changing world. A cell constitutes a unitary whole, a unit of life, and in this volume one of the leading authorities on the cell gives us a vivid picture of what goes on within this minute precinct. The result is a richly detailed, meticulously crafted account of what modern science can tell us about life as well as one scientist's personal attempt to wring understanding from the tide of knowledge.
The new sixth edition of this best-selling introduction to biochemistry maintains the clarity and coherence that so appeals to students whilst incorporating the very latest advances in the field, new worked examples and end of chapter problems and an improved artwork programme to highlight key processes and important lessons.
The book introduces a radically new way of thinking about information and the important role it plays in living systems. It opens up new avenues for exploring how cells and organisms change and adapt, since the ability to detect and respond to meaningful information is the key that enables them to receive their genetic heritage, regulate their internal milieu, and respond to changes in their environment. It also provides a way of resolving Descartes’ dilemma by explaining the workings of the brain in non-mechanical terms that are not tainted by spiritual or metaphysical beliefs. The types of meaningful information that different species and different cell types are able to detect are finely matched to the ecosystem in which they live, for natural selection has shaped what they need to know to function effectively in those circumstances. Biological detection and response systems range from the chemical configurations that govern genes and cell life to the relatively simple tropisms that guide single-cell organisms, the rudimentary nervous systems of invertebrates, and the complex neuronal structures of mammals and primates. The scope of meaningful information that can be detected and responded to reaches its peak in our own species, as exemplified by our special abilities in language, cognition, emotion, and consciousness, all of which are explored within this new framework.
Cell origin remains one of the most fundamental problems in biology, and over the last decade it has spawned a large body of literature and debate. Franklin Harold has synthesized this literature not to promote his own views of cell origin but to impartially present the current research on the topic along with the controversies that keep the field in turmoil. In accessible language that assumes only a basic knowledge of cell biology, he shows how far we ve come in understanding cell evolutionand the origins of life in generaland how far we have to go before we can completely comprehend it. After introducing cell theory, Harold explores such wide-ranging topics as the construction of a universal tree of life; controversies over the Last Universal Common Ancestor s exact nature and place in cell history; the evolution of cellular organization; and the origin and evolution of complex cells. The final chapters of the book explore the early origins of life and the evolutionary implications of cellular evolution."
Wilhelm Reich’s experiments in the 1930s with cutting-edge light microscopy and time-lapse micro-cinematography were considered discredited, but not because of shoddy lab technique, as has been claimed. Scientific opposition to Reich’s experiments, James Strick argues, grew out of resistance to his unorthodox sexual theories and Marxist leanings.
Controversial Supreme Court decisions have barred organized school prayer, but neither the Court nor public policy exclude religion from schools altogether. In this book, one of America's leading constitutional scholars asks what role religion ought to play in public schools. Kent Greenawalt explores many of the most divisive issues in educational debate, including teaching about the origins of life, sex education, and when--or whether--students can opt out of school activities for religious reasons. Using these and other case studies, Greenawalt considers how to balance the country's constitutional commitment to personal freedoms and to the separation of church and state with the vital role that religion has always played in American society. Do we risk distorting students' understanding of America's past and present by ignoring religion in public-school curricula? When does teaching about religion cross the line into the promotion of religion? Tracing the historical development of religion within public schools and considering every major Supreme Court case, Greenawalt concludes that the bans on school prayer and the teaching of creationism are justified, and that the court should more closely examine such activities as the singing of religious songs and student papers on religious topics. He also argues that students ought to be taught more about religion--both its contributions and shortcomings--especially in courses in history. To do otherwise, he writes, is to present a seriously distorted picture of society and indirectly to be other than neutral in presenting secularism and religion. Written with exemplary clarity and even-handedness, this is a major book about some of the most pressing and contentious issues in educational policy and constitutional law today.
Imagine that we had some way to look directly at the molecules in a living organism. An x-ray microscope would do the trick, or since we’re dreaming, perhaps an Asimov-style nanosubmarine (unfortunately, neither is currently feasible). Think of the wonders we could witness firsthand: antibodies atta- ing a virus, electrical signals racing down nerve fibers, proteins building new strands of DNA. Many of the questions puzzling the current cadre of sci- tists would be answered at a glance. But the nanoscale world of molecules is separated from our everyday world of experience by a daunting million-fold difference in size, so the world of molecules is completely invisible. I created the illustrations in this book to help bridge this gulf and allow us to see the molecular structure of cells, if not directly, then in an artistic rendition. I have included two types of illustrations with this goal in mind: watercolor paintings which magnify a small portion of a living cell by one million times, showing the arrangement of molecules inside, and comput- generated pictures, which show the atomic details of individual molecules. In this second edition of The Machinery of Life, these illustrations are presented in full color, and they incorporate many of the exciting scientific advances of the 15 years since the first edition.

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