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In Search of the Physical Basis of Life Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1984 Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, Ling will some day be one of the icons of modern science. Given the way orthodoxy holds onto its reign, it may be another several decades before it happens, but it will inevitably happen. The hypothesis he puts for in this book regarding the physical structure of human cells is nothing less than a complete overhaul of the presently reigning model.
The conventional model of the cell is one of a saline bag with ion pumps embedded in its membrane to control ion concentrations and, therefore, the charge gradient across the membrane. Ling review *all* the literature upon which this model is based, and in the process, shows how the model can't possibly be a reality.
Next, building upon experiments in colloidal chemistry dating back almost a century, Ling establishes a different model of the cell. This model, called the Association-Induction Hypothesis, has makes some bold assertions about the physical state of the cell, though none that aren't backed with mountains of experimental evidence:
1) Water within the cell exists in polarized multilayers. Unlike dissociated water we see around us in the world, water in the cell is held in layers by the polarizing effect of long proteins that stretch throug the cell.
2) Ions are not pumped in and out of the cell. Rather, it is primarily the movement of potassium ions, which are pulled into the cell based upon their size and charge in relation to the position and electron density of the proteins within the cell.
3) ATP does not supply energy to the cell via any high-energy phosphate bond. Ling reviews all the evidence showing why this cannot be an accurate picture of ATP. Rather, ATP is the primary cellular "cardinal adsorbent," molecules which attach to the ends of proteins, ends that extend lightly beyond the boundary of the cell. By attaching, ATP induces shifts in electron density through the protein chain to which it is bound, altering ionic movement/gradients across the cell boundary, in addition to a host of other cellular repercussions resulting from the density change.
There are far more revelations about the cellular environment in Ling's book. Further, he has published a few books since this one, one of which has just been published. I'm reading it now, and I am hoping it will distill his very extensive thesis down to the most salient points. It is a hypothesis that deserves a very wide audience, but the technical nature of his writing makes it accessible to a very limited audience.
I look forward to the day that Ling's model of the cell is mentioned in standard textbooks on physiology. It should be.