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Cover

What is Life?

How Chemistry Becomes Biology

Addy Pross

April 2016

ISBN: 9780198784791

224 pages
Paperback
196x129mm

In Stock

Price: £9.99

Seventy years ago, Erwin Schrödinger posed a profound question: 'What is life, and how did it emerge from non-life?' Scientists have puzzled over it ever since. Addy Pross uses insights from the new field of systems chemistry to show how chemistry can become biology, and that Darwinian evolution is the expression of a deeper physical principle.

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Description

Seventy years ago, Erwin Schrödinger posed a profound question: 'What is life, and how did it emerge from non-life?' Scientists have puzzled over it ever since. Addy Pross uses insights from the new field of systems chemistry to show how chemistry can become biology, and that Darwinian evolution is the expression of a deeper physical principle.

  • Reconsiders the big question: how did life emerge from non-life?
  • Draws on recent results from the new field of systems chemistry to articulate an answer
  • Shows how chemical systems become complex and acquire the properties of life
  • Demonstrates that Darwinian evolution is the expression of a much deeper principle in the physical sciences
  • With a new Epilogue highlighting the latest developments in the ideas discussed, and their implications
  • Part of the Oxford Landmark Science range: 'must-read' modern science and big ideas, which have shaped the way we think.

About the Author(s)

Addy Pross, Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Addy Pross received a Ph.D in Organic Chemistry from Sydney University in 1970. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and a recognized authority in the area of chemical reactivity to which he contributed with the highly cited and acclaimed Pross-Shaik model of chemical reactivity. He has held visiting positions in many universities word-wide, including the University of Lund, Stanford University, Rutgers University, University of California at Irvine, University of Padova, the Australian National University Canberra, and Sydney University. He has served on the editorial board of chemical and biological journals and a variety of academic management boards. In recent years he has directed his attention to the biological arena where he has applied his expertise in chemical reactivity to the Origin of Life problem and the broader question of the problematic chemistry-biology interface.

Table of Contents

    Prologue
    1:Living things are so very strange
    2:Historic quest for a theory of life
    3:Understanding 'understanding'
    4:Stability and instability
    5:The knotty origin of life problem
    6:Biology's crisis of identity
    7:Biology is chemistry
    8:What is Life?
    References and Notes
    Index

Reviews

"In this inspiring book, Pross provides an engaging account of the view that systems chemistry can bridge the hitherto unassailable abiogenic/biogenic divide. In a carefully constructed, almost forensic, analysis, he confronts crucial issues, such as the conceptual gulf between the biochemist's chicken and egg problem...and the fundamental role of dynamic kinetic stability in the process of life." - Ben Mepham, The Biologist

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