Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology

Author(s): Johnjoe McFadden (University of Surrey)

Mathematics & Science | No Category

Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how did it come to be? Even in an age of cloning and artificial biology, the remarkable truth remains: nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we still missing a vital ingredient in its creation? Like Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene," which provided a new perspective on how evolution works, "Life on the Edge" alters our understanding of our world's fundamental dynamics. Bringing together first-hand experience at the cutting edge of science with unparalleled gifts of explanation, Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe Macfadden reveal that missing ingredient to be quantum mechanics; the phenomena that lie at the heart of this most mysterious of sciences. Drawing on recent ground-breaking experiments around the world, each chapter in "Life on the Edge" engages by illustrating one of life's puzzles: How do migrating birds know where to go? How do we really smell the scent of a rose? How do our genes copy themselves with such precision? "Life on the Edge" accessibly reveals how quantum mechanics can answer these probing questions of the universe. Guiding the reader through the rapidly unfolding discoveries of the last few years, Al-Khalili and McFadden communicate the excitement of the explosive new field of quantum biology and its potentially revolutionary applications, while offering insights into the biggest puzzle of all: what is life? As they brilliantly demonstrate in these groundbreaking pages, life exists on the quantum edge."


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Johnjoe McFadden is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey and is the editor of several leading text books. For over a decade, he has specialized in examining tuberculosis and meningitis, inventing the first successful molecular test for the latter. He is the author of "Quantum Evolution" and co-editor of "Human Nature: Fact and Fiction." Jim Al-Khalili OBE is an academic, author, and broadcaster. He is a leading theoretical physicist based at the University of Surrey, where he teaches and carries out research in quantum mechanics. He has written a number of popular science books, including "Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science." He has presented several television and radio documentaries, including the BAFTA-nominated "Chemistry: A Volatile History" and "The Secret Life of Chaos."

General Fields

  • : 9780307986818
  • : Crown/Archetype
  • : 0.59
  • : July 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Johnjoe McFadden (University of Surrey)
  • : Hardback
  • : 368