"Essential reading for people in disciplines ranging from philosophy to biology. It is simply the best general book that I know on the question of the origin of life." --Michael Ruse, author of Mystery of Mysteries: Is Evolution a Social Construction? "Fry has fashioned a masterful account of the history, philosophy, and science of the origin of life and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Her story weaves profound Western ideas of who we are and where we came from, from Aristotle to Gould, from Kant to NASA." --Woodruff Sullivan, University of Washington "A rich source for the specialist and thought-provoking reading for the lay person." Gunter Wachtershauser, University of Regensburg, Germany How did life emerge on Earth? Is there life on other worlds? These questions, until recently confined to the pages of speculative essays and tabloid headlines, are now the subject of legitimate scientific research. This book presents a unique perspective--a combined historical, scientific, and philosophical anaylsis, which does justice to the complex nature of the subject. The book's first part offers an overview of the main ideas on the origin of life as they developed from antiquity until the twentieth century. The second, more detailed part of the book examines contemporary theories and major debates within the origin-of-life scientific community. Topics inclue: - Aristotle and the Greek atomists' conceptions of the organism - Alexander Oparin and J.B.S. Haldane's 1920s breakthrough papers - Possible life on Mars?
The Origin of Life on the Earth covers the proceedings of the First International Symposium of The Origin of Life on the Earth, held at Moscow on August 19-24, 1957. This symposium brings together numerous scientific studies on the evolutionary principles and the different stages in the evolutionary development of matter. This book is organized into seven parts encompassing 60 chapters. The first parts discuss evidence that on the formation of hydrocarbons and their derivatives on the surface of the Earth even before the emergence of life. The subsequent parts are devoted to the many asymmetrical syntheses under the influence of circularly-polarized ultraviolet light, by catalytic reactions occurring on the surface of quartz crystals, and spontaneously by slow crystallization from solutions. These topics are followed by reviews on the possible means of abiogenic formation of amino acids, porphyrins, protein-like polymers, polynucleotides and other high-molecular organic compounds. Considerable chapters explore the complete possibility of the primary formation of these compounds on the surface of the Earth even before life was present on it. Other general topics covered include nucleic acids, nucleoproteins and viruses. The last part considers general biochemical problems connected with the further development of metabolism. This book will be of value to astronomers, physicists, geologists, chemists, and biologists.
An understanding of the unique conditions that allowed life to emerge and exist today on our planet is essential if we are to answer two fundamental questions facing humanity - the continuation of life on earth, and the existence of life outside our planet. This book contributes to our understanding of astrobiology as it applies to planet Earth.
This book provides a comprehensive treatment of the chemical nature of the Earth’s early surface environment and how that led to the origin of life. This includes a detailed discussion of the likely process by which life emerged using as much quantitative information as possible. The emergence of life and the prior surface conditions of the Earth have implications for the evolution of Earth’s surface environment over the following 2-2.5 billion years. The last part of the book discusses how these changes took place and the evidence from the geologic record that supports this particular version of early and evolving conditions.
Uniting the conceptual foundations of the physical sciences and biology, this groundbreaking multidisciplinary book explores the origin of life as a planetary process. Combining geology, geochemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, evolution and statistical physics to create an inclusive picture of the living state, the authors develop the argument that the emergence of life was a necessary cascade of non-equilibrium phase transitions that opened new channels for chemical energy flow on Earth. This full colour and logically structured book introduces the main areas of significance and provides a well-ordered and accessible introduction to multiple literatures outside the confines of disciplinary specializations, as well as including an extensive bibliography to provide context and further reading. For researchers, professionals entering the field or specialists looking for a coherent overview, this text brings together diverse perspectives to form a unified picture of the origin of life and the ongoing organization of the biosphere.
This review gathers astronomers, geologists, biologists, and chemists around a common question: how did life emerge on Earth? The ultimate goal is to probe an even more demanding question: is life universal? This not-so linear account highlights problems, gaps, and controversies. Discussion covers the formation of the solar system; the building of a habitable planet; prebiotic chemistry, biochemistry, and the emergence of life; the early Earth environment, and much more.
Our Cosmic Origins, first published in 1998, traces the remarkable story of the emergence of life and intelligence right through the complex evolutionary history of the Universe. Armand Delsemme weaves together a rich tapestry of science, bringing together cosmology, astronomy, geology, biochemistry and biology in this wide-ranging book. In following the complex, chronological story, we discover how the first elements formed in the early Universe, how stars and planets were born, how the first bacteria evolved towards a plethora of plants and animals, and how the coupling of the eye and brain led to the development of self-awareness and, ultimately, intelligence. Professor Delsemme concludes with the tantalising suggestion that the existence of alien life and intelligence is likely, and examines our chances of contacting it. This provocative book provides the general reader with an accessible and wide-ranging account of how life evolved on Earth and how likely it is to exist elsewhere in the Universe.
The question of the origin of the earth, its structure, and its position in the cosmos is one of the oldest questions of all. Today the discussion about the structure of the earth, about its beginnings and development is fortunately much less emotional, not least because the most diverse sciences have to offer a very detailed and convincing picture of the evolution of planet earth. This book summarizes the current state of knowledge about the history, structure, and further development of the earth; it explains the formation and movement of the continents, describes central tools of geology and geophysics, and goes into the beginnings of life on earth.
This book presents an overview of current views on the origin of life and its earliest evolution. Each chapter describes key processes, environments and transition on the long road from geochemistry and astrochemistry to biochemistry and finally to the ancestors of today ́s organisms. This book combines the bottom-up and the top-down approaches to life including the origin of key chemical and structural features of living cells and the nature of abiotic factors that shaped these features in primordial environments. The book provides an overview of the topic as well as its state of the art for graduate students and newcomers to the field. It also serves as a reference for researchers in origins of life on Earth and beyond.