What Is Life

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2000-06-01

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Transcending the various formal concepts of life, this captivating book offers a unique overview of life's history, essences, and future. "A masterpiece of scientific writing. You will cherish "What Is Life?" because it is so rich in poetry and science in the service of profound philosophical questions".--Mitchell Thomashow, "Orion". 9 photos. 11 line illustrations.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword Undreamt Philosophies xi
Niles Eldredge
Life: The Eternal Enigma In the Spirit of Schrodinger Life's Body Animism vs. Mechanism Janus among the Centaurs Blue Jewel Is There Life on Mars? Life as Verb Self-Maintenance The Autopoietic Planet The Stuff of Life Mind in Nature
Lost Souls Death: The Great Perplexer The Breath of Life Cartesian License Entering the Forbidden Realm Cosmic Wiggles The Meaning of Evolution Vernadsky's Biosphere Lovelock's Gaia
Once Upon a Planet Beginnings Hell on Earth Spontaneous Generation Origins of Life ``Stumbling Forward'' Metabolic Windows The RNA Supermolecule Cells First
Masters of the Biosphere Fear of a Bacterial Planet Life Is Bacteria The Metabolically Gifted The Gene Traders Our Splendid Kin From Plenty to Crisis Breakfast Ferment Green, Red, and Purple Beings Oxygen Excitement Quintessential Polluters, Quintessential Recyclers Living Carpets and Growing Stones
Permanent Mergers The Great Cell Divide Five Kinds of Beings Twists in the Tree of Life Squirmers Strange New Fruit Wallin's Symbionts Multicellularity and Programmed Death Sexual Genesis in the Microworld, or When Eating Was Sex The Power of Slime
The Amazing Animals The (Bower) Birds and the (Honey) Bees What Is an Animal? Great-Grandparent Trichoplax Sex and Death Cambrian Chauvinism Evolutionary Exuberance Messengers
Flesh of the Earth The Underworld Kissing Molds and Destroying Angels Cross-Kingdom Alliances Underbelly of the Biosphere Hitchhiking Fungi, Counterfeit Flowers, and Aphrodisiacs Hallucinogenic Mushrooms and Dionysian Delights Transmigrators of Matter
The Transmutation of Sunlight Green Fire The Accursed Share Ancient Roots Primeval Trees Floral Persuasion Solar Economy
Sentient Symphony A Double Life Choice Little Purposes Butler's Blasphemy Habits and Memory Existence's Celebration Superhumanity Expanding Life Rhythms and Cycles
Epilogue 245(2)
Notes 247(8)
Glossary 255(10)
Acknowledgments 265(4)
Sources of Illustrations 269(2)
Index 271

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