The Lives of a Cell

The Lives of a Cell : Notes of a Biology Watcher

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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."show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 5153 pages
  • 129.54 x 195.58 x 15.24mm | 158.76g
  • Penguin Books Australia
  • Hawthorn, Australia
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • forms, transparencies
  • 0140047433
  • 9780140047431
  • 79,816

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)show more

Table of contents

The Lives of a Cell Thoughts for a Countdown On Societies as Organisms A Fear of Pheromones The Music of This Sphere An Earnest Proposal The Technology of Medicine Vibes Ceti The Long Habit Antaeus in Manhattan The MBL Autonomy Organelles as Organisms Germs Your Very Good Health Social Talk Information Death in the Open Natural Science Natural Man The Iks Computers The Planning of Science Some Biomythology On Various Words Living Language On Probability and Possibility The World's Biggest Membranes Reference Notesshow more

Rating details

6,687 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 45% (2,997)
4 32% (2,173)
3 17% (1,148)
2 4% (256)
1 2% (113)
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