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How did life on Earth originate? Did replication or metabolism come first in the history of life? In the second edition of the acclaimed Origins of Life, distinguished scientist and science writer Freeman Dyson examines these questions and discusses the two main theories that try to explain how naturally occurring chemicals could organize themselves into living creatures. The majority view is that life began with replicating molecules, the precursors of modern genes. The minority belief is that random populations of molecules evolved metabolic activities before exact replication existed and that natural selection drove the evolution of cells toward greater complexity for a long time without the benefit of genes. Dyson analyzes both of these theories with reference to recent important discoveries by geologists and chemists, aiming to stimulate new experiments that could help decide which theory is correct. This second edition covers the impact revolutionary discoveries such as the existence of ribozymes, enzymes made of RNA; the likelihood that many of the most ancient creatures are thermophilic, living in hot environments; and evidence of life in the most ancient of all terrestrial rocks in Greenland have had on our ideas about how life began. It is a clearly written, fascinating book that will appeal to anyone interested in the origins of life.Read more
- Freeman Dyson is a world-famous, prize-winning science writer
- Looks at one of the most fascinating questions in science - how did life begin?
- Completely up-to-date treatment
Reviews & endorsements
"...he [Dyson] makes strong arguments with real substance, going beyond the level of most popular science writing. Most impressive of all, Dyson writes succinctly and lucidly, fitting an amazing amount into 90 pages without ever appearing forced or hurried. Anyone interested in abiogenesis will find Origins of Life well worth the read." Reports of the National Center for Science EducationSee more reviews
"...provocative, entertaining, and, above all, makes one think." Episodes
"In this new edition of a book first published in 1985, Dyson builds his argument with characteristic skill and clarity." Scientific American
"...well-written, easily comprehensible monograph." Science Books & Films
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- Edition: 2nd Edition
- Date Published: September 1999
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521626682
- length: 112 pages
- dimensions: 216 x 140 x 7 mm
- weight: 0.15kg
- contains: 4 b/w illus.
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. Illustrious predecessors
2. Experiments and theories
3. A toy model
4. Open questions
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