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In the Beat of a Heart: Life, Energy, and the Unity of Nature
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Biology is in an interesting state of flux, with some visionary scientists believing that all biological processes are explainable by the laws of physics and mathematics. Meanwhile another group believes that quantum mechanics provides the best explanation for life process and a minority who think that we need to look elsewhere for an explanation of biological organization and function. In the middle is a very large group of teachers are researchers who are unfamiliar with the debates that are raging at scientific conferences and in the scholarly journals.
This is far from being an idle discussion: it has enormous implications for our understanding not only of biology, but also of health and disease. Wherever your sympathies lie in this ongoing debate, it is useful and important to know the current state of play in each of these different camps.
This book is an extremely well written and enthralling account of scientific discovery, that focuses on the efforts of a determined band of investigators who believe that they can - simply by using the currently known laws of physics and mathematics - build a unified theory of how living organisms function.
The idea that energy might be a unifying concept is not new. One of the first to discuss it was D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson who published a classic book on the topic - On Growth and Form - in 1917. In that book Thompson explored the effects of body size on life. Since larger animals need to expend more energy to do their day-to-day jobs, he began the study of metabolic rate and the way in which it sets the tempo for life processes. If metabolism slows, then so do all the processes in cells and organs.Read more ›
I recommend the book for the curious reader, who is interested in learning a little more about some of the mysteries of biology and the systems perspective that some scientist have taken to help uncover them.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this book read like an extended list. Furthermore, reading this book while completing my undergraduate science degree, I found it frustratingly dull, though obviously... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is all about the contributions of physics to biological systems. It take on from where
D'Arcy Thompson's "On Growth and Form" left off. Read more