The Lives of a Cell

The Lives of a Cell : Notes of a Biology Watcher

By (author) Lewis Thomas


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Elegant, suggestive, and clarifying, Lewis Thomas's profoundly humane vision explores the world around us and examines the complex interdependence of all things. Extending beyond the usual limitations of biological science and into a vast and wondrous world of hidden relationships, this provocative book explores in personal, poetic essays to topics such as computers, germs, language, music, death, insects, and medicine. Lewis Thomas writes, "Once you have become permanently startled, as I am, by the realization that we are a social species, you tend to keep an eye out for the pieces of evidence that this is, by and large, good for us."

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  • Paperback | 5153 pages
  • 129.54 x 195.58 x 15.24mm | 158.76g
  • 01 Dec 1996
  • Penguin Books Australia
  • Hawthorn
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • forms, transparencies
  • 0140047433
  • 9780140047431
  • 94,475

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Review text

An assemblage of twenty-nine short essays on the recent genetic and molecular biologic revolution, presenting a holistic vision of nature: the earth as a superorganism of species, societies as superorganisms of individuals, man as the superorganism of organelles, and so on. Thomas, a pathologist at N.Y.U., has a quasi-religious faith in the ultimate power of genetic coding and the mysteries of probability and possibility. He proposes that the in-born template for human behavior is a capacity for grammatical construction. As the purpose of a termite community is nest-building, correspondingly human beings are under genetic instructions to order information into language. The scientists are ready to get in touch with interested celestial bodies for a little extraterrestrial conversation, and Thomas votes for Bach as emissary - "all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again." He's something of a cosmic dreamer, but romance is no doubt a prerequisite for this kind of laboratory research. (Kirkus Reviews)

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