A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life by Ben McFarland

By Ben McFarland

A international From Dust describes how a suite of chemical ideas mixed with the rules of evolution so that it will create an atmosphere during which existence as we all know it could possibly spread. starting with easy arithmetic, those predictable ideas resulted in the appearance of the planet itself, in addition to cells, organs and organelles, ecosystems, and more and more complicated existence kinds. McFarland offers an obtainable dialogue of a geological background to boot, describing how the inorganic topic on the earth underwent chemical reactions with air and water, bearing in mind lifestyles to emerge from the world's first rocks. He lines the historical past of existence all of the solution to glossy neuroscience, and exhibits how the bioelectric indications that make up the human mind have been shaped. most well-liked technological know-how books at the subject current both the physics of ways the universe shaped, or the biology of ways advanced lifestyles happened; this book's method will be novel in that it condenses in an attractive manner the chemistry that hyperlinks the 2 fields. This publication is an available and multidisciplinary examine how lifestyles on our planet got here to be, and the way it keeps to boost and alter even today.

This e-book comprises forty illustrations by way of Gala Bent, print artist and studio school member at Cornish university of the humanities, and Mary Anderson, clinical illustrator.

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Extra resources for A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life

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The beauty of it is that it also works with large molecules like proteins in complex systems like life, and over billions of years of natural history. The series is a clear trend that works in many contexts and fits the universal shape of the periodic table. Physics has many laws of nature, from gravity to electromagnetism. The Irving-​Williams series is a chemical law of nature. It also has been a law of nature for a long time. The physical laws haven’t changed much since the universe began—​and physicists have checked.

Finding a cell is like finding a micro-​ekko, and finding DNA deep within the cell is like finding some scraps of old paper on the bench inside. The scraps of DNA hold old historical legends. Extending the metaphor, a philologist friend who loves those old languages can translate and contextualize those legends. In the same way, chemical experiments can reconstruct the past. In the rest of this book, we will read the messages from DNA and combine them with messages from rocks. The laws of chemistry tie the two together in a story that is the history of the universe.

Before Darwin, William Paley told a famous story of discovering a watch in the grass of an English meadow. Paley said finding life is like finding that watch. Here we have the same island and metaphor, but with very different implications. Like ekko, and unlike Paley’s watch, a living cell is open to, and changes with, its environment. Ekko is not a mechanism but a place, a piece of nature carved out by a wall. It is made from the same stuff that surrounds it, and there is a simple elegance to it so that I can imagine how it may have come together on its own.

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