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Biogenesis : Theories of Life's Origin - Noam Lahav

Biogenesis

Theories of Life's Origin

Hardcover Published: 1st June 1998
ISBN: 9780195117554
Number Of Pages: 368

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Biogenesis provides a detailed, critical discussion of the modern scientific study of the origin of life. It covers the entire history, including the biological, geological, and cosmological background. The author explains the rationale behind the main assumptions and experimental strategies of the study of the origin of life, and reviews its plethora of theories, models, scenarios, and controversies.
The book begins with the history of the search for life's origin from the Greek philosophers to contemporary scientists. The author introduces the reader to important aspects of scientific thinking, and covers the biases, successes, and failures of these thinkers. Part II succinctly describes selected attributes of life, which are connected to theories and controversies of the studies of the origin of life. The main features of the solar system and Earth, where life is assumed to have originated, are briefly reviewed in Part III. This section covers the formation of the planet, its primordial atmosphere and seas, and the Gaia theory. Part IV investigates the rationale of the scientific theories of the origin of life. It begins with the fundamental assumptions and guidelines, as well as the main experimental strategies used by origin-of-life researchers. The book proceeds with a search for clues in both the geological and biological records. It concludes with a critical, but objective discussion of the main reactions, processes, models, and scenarios suggested for the emergence of various attributes of life in prebiotic environment and the transition from inanimate to animate.

"Before we can even address the origin of life, there looms the question of what life is anyway. In Biogenesis, Lahav quotes definitions of life culled from the scientific literature from 1855 to 1997. We see the special concerns of each, from Spenser's emphasis on evolution, to Schrodinger's on the law of physics, to Kauffman's on complexity theory. In pursuit of answers, scientists are using every technique from laboratory experiments to deep sea exploration to computer simulations. The most complete account of every approach and each important concept, theory, and experiment is found in this book. It is an invaluable resource for all serious students of origin-of-life research. Although much of this book is very technical, it is written in a highly accessible style. It is an outstanding contribution to the field." - Lucy Horwitz, Boston Book Review, March 2000 "Before we can even address the origin of life, there looms the question of what life is anyway. In Biogenesis, Lahav quotes definitions of life culled from the scientific literature from 1855 to 1997. We see the special concerns of each, from Spenser's emphasis on evolution, to Schrodinger's on the law of physics, to Kauffman's on complexity theory. In pursuit of answers, scientists are using every technique from laboratory experiments to deep sea exploration to computer simulations. The most complete account of every approach and each important concept, theory, and experiment is found in this book. It is an invaluable resource for all serious students of origin-of-life research. Although much of this book is very technical, it is written in a highly accessible style. It is an outstanding contribution to the field." - Lucy Horwitz, Boston Book Review, March 2000

Preface Prologue. On Universes, Elements, Planets, and Life Part I. History of the Search Into the Origin of Life: On the Shoulders of So Many 1: From Myths to Logos to Stagnation 2: Experimental Biology of the 17th Century 3: Systematic Biology, Doubts and Uncertainties: The 18th Century 4: Demise and Resurrection of the Spontaneous Generation School: Pasteur and Darwin 5: The Modern Era: Spontaneous Generation at the Molecular Level Part II. Central Features of Life as We Know It In Our Phylogenetic Tree 6: A General Morphological-Functional Characterization of the Cell 7: General Chemical, Biochemical, and Molecular-Biological Characterization 8: General Thermodynamic Considerations 9: Central Biochemical Molecules and Processes 10: Biological Conservation and Continuity and the Phylogenetic Tree 11: Biological Life: A Multitude of Points of View Part III 12: Our Universe, Galaxy and Solar System 13: Planet Earth Part IV. Beyond the Progenote: Rationale, Strategies, Scenarios, and Models in the Search of the Origin of Life 14: Basic Assumptions and Strategies 15: Clues and Speculations by Back-Extrapolation from Cosmology and Geology 16: Clues From Biology: Evolution, Conservationism, Continuity, and Their Implications 17: Top-Down Reconstruction of Processes and Early Evolutionary Stages without Specific Geochemical Consideration 18: Bottom-Up Reconstruction Without Specific Biogeochemical Conditions 19: Bottom-Up Biogeochemical Reconstruction: Starting From Organic Scratch in the Absence of Minerals 20: Bottom-Up Biogeochemical Reconstruction: Minerals Functioning as Scaffolds, Adsorbents, Catalysts, and Information Carriers 21: Bottom-Up Biogeochemical Reconstructions: Mineral Involvement in Energy Production and Transfer 22: Possible Sites for Molecular Evolution Scenarios and Their Rhythms 23: Computer Modeling of Biogeochemical Scenarios

ISBN: 9780195117554
ISBN-10: 0195117557
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st June 1998
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.32 x 16.1  x 2.39
Weight (kg): 0.53