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The Biosphere 1998th Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387982687
ISBN-10: 038798268X
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lynn Margulis (1938-2011) who served as a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, received the 1999 National Medal of Science from President Bill Clinton. She was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences starting in 1983 and of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences from 1997 forward. Author, editor, or coauthor of chapters in more than forty books, she published or had her work profiled in many journals, magazines, and books, among them Natural History, Science, Nature, New England Watershed, Scientific American, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science Firsts, and The Scientific 100. She made numerous contributions to the primary scientific literature of microbial evolution and cell biology.

Margulis's theory of species evolution by symbiogenesis, put forth in Acquiring Genomes (co-authored with Dorion Sagan, 2002), describes how speciation does not occur by random mutation alone but rather by symbiotic dEtente. Behavioral, chemical, and other interactions often lead to integration among organisms, members of different taxa. In well-documented cases some mergers create new species. Intimacy, physical contact of strangers, becomes part of the engine of life's evolution that accelerates the process of change. Margulis worked in the laboratory and field with many other scientists and students to show how specific ancient partnerships, in a given order over a billion years, generated the cells of the species we see with our unaided eyes. The fossil record, in fact, does not show Darwin's predicted gradual changes between closely related species but rather the "punctuated equilibrium" pattern described by Eldredge and Gould: a jump from one to a different species.

She worked on the "revolution in evolution" since she was a graduate student. In the last fifteen years of her life, Margulis co-authored several books with Dorion Sagan, among them What is Sex? (1997), What is Life? (1995), Mystery Dance: On the Evolution of Human Sexuality (1991), Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Evolution from Our Microbial Ancestors (1986), and Origins of Sex: Three Billion Years of Genetic Recombination (1986).

Her work with K.V. Schwartz provided a consistent formal classification of all life on Earth and has lead to the third edition of Five Kingdoms: An Illustrated Guide to the Phyla of Life on Earth (1998). Their classification scheme was generated from scientific results of myriad colleagues and its logical-genealogical basis is summarized in her single-authored book Symbiosis in Cell Evolution: Microbial Communities in the Archean and Proterozoic Eons (second edition, 1993). The bacterial origins of both chloroplasts and mitochondria are now well established.

Since the mid-1970s, Margulis aided James E. Lovelock, FRS, in documenting his Gaia Theory, which posits that the Earth's surface interactions among living beings, rocks and soil, air and water have created a vast, self-regulating system. From the vantage of outer space the Earth looks like an amazing being; from the vantage of biochemistry it behaves in many ways like a giant organism.

Review

...required reading for all entry level students in earth and planetary sciences. -- Eric D. Schneider, co-author [with Dorion Sagan] of Into the Cool: The New Thermodynamics of Creative Destruction

Among Russian-speaking scientists, V. I. Vernadsky has Darwinian stature, largely because of insights presented in The Biosphere. -- Stephen M. Rowland, Professor of Geology, University of Nevada

I am delighted to see [Vernadsky's] The Biosphere finally published in its entirety for an English reading audience. -- David. H. Grinspoon, author of Venus Revealed

This elegant new edition of Vernadsky's classic will be of value for the specialist, students and the public at large. -- Francisco Varela, author of The Tree of Knowledge
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 1998 edition (March 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038798268X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387982687
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A biology graduate studying under Lynn Margulis, I was fortunate enough to be involved in preparing "The Biosphere" for publication; and even the raw typescript I transferred onto disk was impressive! Let me eagerly recommend V.I. Vernadsky, as the unsung Charles Darwin of geological and ecological science. In his time, Academician Vernadsky was a groundbreaker: the first to appreciate the vast scope of life's chemical influence upon the Earth ... this planet, which owes its own uniqueness to the very "living matter" of which we, just as all other organisms, are a part. To the readers of today, Vernadsky's own words tell us the historic beginnings of the discipline this brilliant, long-uncredited scientist's ideas founded. No student or advocate of global ecology should miss this thought-provoking, eye-opening book!
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Format: Hardcover
It's hard to read this book without coming away with the impression of a powerful, original mind at work. Many of Vernadsky's ideas remain unappreciated to this day. In particular, the idea of life as a cosmological phenomenon, as a means by which energy is stored and transformed on a planetary scale, should become increasingly important as the science of astrobiology develops a rigorous intellectual basis.
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By A Customer on October 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I'm very happy that Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky becomes little by little known for the English speaking public. Although his "Biosphere" has been written over 70 years ago, even now its ideas remain fresh and actual. Indeed, the "Biosphere" provides a new level of thinking which permits us to consider Vladimir Vernadsky as a deepest naturalist of our century. And now I'm looking forward to the time when they will be translated and published his subsequent books - first of all the book on the noosphere: "Scientific thought as a planet phenomenon".
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By A Customer on March 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have read this Vernadsky's books in Russian - his works is the cornerstone of modern culture. Vernadsky's work will be as important for human civilization in new millennium as books of Newton, Darwin, Einstein and Plato now. I'd like to read English Edition. Vernadsky's works are important for EVERYBODY, not only for biologists. Semyon D. Savransky, Ph.D. (Physics & Materaials Science, TRIZ)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are two primary things that I learned from this book, and gaining an understanding of either one of them would have been worth the read and the five stars - in and of itself.

1) That the planet is the way it is because of the biological processes that interacted with it over a long period of time, in fact creating much of the geology that we witness in present day.

2) The formation of 'excretions' from the biosphere (things that, through a biological process, no longer become bio-available, as in useful to any other member of the biosphere) and how they collect to form deposits of many things including what we call today "fossil fuels". How these deposits are outside of the biosphere entirely (as they no longer are involved in any biological process) and by extension of this fact when we use these fuels (through burning of fossil fuels) we are actually making them bio-available again. This is a fascinating insight that is really quite obvious if considered but due to our Western proclivities and conditioning aren't in a fair position to consider.

It is a pretty "heady" read, and if you aren't a geology/ecology/biology buff it may be a bit dry - and this is coming from someone who reads rare, very "boring", out of print books. But if you want a different take on the existing Western orthodoxy regarding these topics then this is a great book to read.
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