Cover image for The equations of life : how physics shapes evolution
The equations of life : how physics shapes evolution
Cockell, Charles, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Basic Books, [2018]

Physical Description:
x, 337 pages ; 25 cm
"Any reader of science fiction or viewer of Star Trek will be awake to the dream that there may be life elsewhere in our universe that isn't like life here on Earth. Maybe, like E.T., it has new letters in its genetic alphabet! Maybe it's made of silicon! Maybe it gets around on wheels! Or maybe it doesn't. In The Equations of Life, biologist Charles Cockell makes the surprising argument that the Universe constrains life, making its evolutionary outcomes quite predictable--in short, if we were to find, on some distant planet, something very much like a ladybug eating something very much like an aphid that had itself just been feeding on the sap of something very much like a flower, we shouldn't at all be surprised. Considering the vast pantheon of creatures that have existed on Earth, from pterodactyls to sloths, it is tempting to think that the possibilities for life are limitless, and that a ladybug is a marvelous oddity. But as Cockell reveals, the forms and shapes of life are guided by a limited sets of rules. There is just a narrow set of mathematical solutions to the challenges of existence. Any natural environment usually has multiple challenges to survival in it, each associated to a physical equation"--
Life's silent commander -- Organizing the multitudes -- The physics of the ladybug -- All creatures great and small -- Bundles of life -- The edge of life -- The code of life -- Of sandwiches and sulfur -- Water, the liquid of life -- The atoms of life -- Universal biology? -- The laws of life : evolution and physics unified.
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