The Sacred Depths of Nature

The Sacred Depths of Nature

3.85 (268 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


For many of us, the great scientific discoveries of the modern age-the Big Bang, evolution, quantum physics, relativity- point to an existence that is bleak, devoid of meaning, pointless. But in The Sacred Depths of Nature, eminent biologist Ursula Goodenough shows us that the scientific world view need not be a source of despair. Indeed, it can be a wellspring of solace and hope. This eloquent volume reconciles the modern scientific understanding of reality with our timeless spiritual yearnings for reverence and continuity. Looking at topics such as evolution, emotions, sexuality, and death, Goodenough writes with rich, uncluttered detail about the workings of nature in general and of living creatures in particular. Her luminous clarity makes it possible for even non-scientists to appreciate that the origins of life and the universe are no less meaningful because of our increasingly scientific understanding of them. At the end of each chapter, Goodenough's spiritual reflections respond to the complexity of nature with vibrant emotional intensity and a sense of reverent wonder.
A beautifully written celebration of molecular biology with meditations on the spiritual and religious meaning that can be found at the heart of science, this volume makes an important contribution to the ongoing dialog between science and religion. This book will engage anyone who was ever mesmerized-or terrified-by the mysteries of existence.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 137.2 x 200.7 x 12.7mm | 158.76g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • numerous line illustrations
  • 0195136292
  • 9780195136296
  • 274,784

Review quote

"Goodenough's luminous prose evokes images and feelings more commonly associated with poetry than science, and her meditations on meaning are infused with wonder and joy.... For a scientist like myself, Goodenough's elegant narratives provide a refreshing way to encounter familiar material. I was especially impressed with her ability to cut right to the quick, so that within a few short pages the reader is whisked from the big bang to the emergence of our planet and
the birth of life on earth."-Scientific American "In this unique book...Goodenough has accomplished what few scientists dare to try: to provide a clear, even reductionist, account of the most modern concepts in science."-San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle "Her descriptions of enzymes, zygotes, and eukaryotes are crystal clear, and warmly complement her outlook."-Gilbert Taylor, Booklist "A celebration of molecular biology, with meditiations on the spiritual and religious meaning that can be found at the heart of science....Makes an important contribution to the ongoing dialog between science and religion. This book will engage anyone who has ever been mesmerized-or terrified-by the mysteries of existence."-Biology Digest "Incisive, comprehensive, witty, and beautiful, with paragraph after paragraph of lucidity and significance. We could be witnessing one of the most important cultural events of the last three centuries-the moment when scientists themselves take seriously their role in forging a planetary wisdom."-Brian Swimme, cosmologist, California Institute of Integral Studies "An engaging, authoritative and lyrical account of the molecular basis of life and its evolution. Goodenough...explains the dynamics of biology with the evident pleasure of a gifted science writer. Her reflections evoke a deep gratitude for the magic of our existence and the necessity to preserve that which makes it possible."-Thomas Pollard, cell biologist, President, The Salk Institute "Goodenough gives us a new bridge between science and religion that is both eloquent and elegant. She offers us the poetry, power, and passion of her vision of nature, a vision born from scientific knowledge, nurtured by religious sensibility, and inspired by nature itself."-Mary Evelyn Tucker, historian of religion, Bucknell University Perhaps the greatest value of the book is not at all the reflective philosophy she espouses but her clean prose in the explanation of mutation, enzyme catalysis and alleic segregation of calcium-channel genes in cats. * Lynn Margulis, THES 27/9/00. * In The Sacred Depths of Nature, this superb cell biologist, thoughtful member of faculty at Washington University in St Louis and mother of five, reviews, in some 12 chapters, the major concepts of biological science at the beginning of the 21st century. * Lynn Margulis, THES 27/9/00. *
show more

About Ursula W. Goodenough

Ursula Goodenough is Professor of Biology at Washington University. One of America's leading cell biologists, she is the author of a bestselling textbook on genetics, and has served as President of the American Society of Cell Biology and of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and in Chilmark, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard.
show more

Rating details

268 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 31% (84)
4 35% (93)
3 24% (65)
2 8% (21)
1 2% (5)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X