The Tao of Chemistry and Life A Scientific Journey

The Tao of Chemistry and Life A Scientific Journey

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Written with the non-scientist in mind, this book employs the molecule and its interactions to explain the characteristics of living organisms in terms of the underlying chemistry of life. Following introductory chapters on the fundamentals of life, attention then turns to small molecules such as hormones and neurotransmitters and subsequently to macromolecules including proteins and nucleic acids. The interactions between small and macromolecules remains a central point throughout the book. These include enzymatic catalysis, hormone action, neurotransmission, regulation of metabolism, biosynthesis of macromolecules, the mechanism of action of drugs, taste, olfaction, learning and memory, and chemical communication. A second central point of emphasis is the sensitive relationship between chemical structure and biological activity. Examples abound and include why subtle changes in fatty acid architecture have positive or negative outcomes for human health in omega-three fatty acids and trans fats and how modest changes in the chemical decoration of the steroid skeleton provide the difference between male and female sex hormones. Beyond these examples taken from the chemistry of small molecules, the book includes a thoughtful consideration of genomics, including the relationship between genome structure and species. The theme of human health appears throughout the book. Cardiovascular medicine, cancer, metabolic diseases, and diseases of the nervous system receive significant attention including consideration of how a variety of drugs work in combating these issues. In sum, the goal of this book is to inform the non-scientist community in a way that will lead to increased understanding of the relationship between chemistry and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 30.48mm | 748.42g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 13 black and white halftone, 18 line illustrations
  • 0195369637
  • 9780195369632

Review quote

"A biochemical counterpart to Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. Cordes does essentialy for molecular life science what Bryson did for cosmology, earth and planetary science, and the origin and evolution of life, and he succeeds in his own goal just about as well. This book is eminently readable, with numerous illustrative anecdotes and figures of speech that liven the presentation."--Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education"The tone is conversational, and ideas are often conveyed using clever and original analogies, personal anecdotes, and homey expressions." -- The Quarterly Review of Biologyshow more

About Eugene H. Cordes

Gene Cordes has been a professor of chemistry and pharmacy at Indiana University and the University of Michigan, a VP in the Merck Research Labs and President of R&D at Sterling Winthrop Inc. His research work has been largely in the area of enzymatic and non-enzymatic mechanisms of catalysis whereas his pharmaceutical industry work focused on drug discovery with emphasis on cardiovascular medicine, metabolic diseases, and diagnostic imaging agents. Books by same author (title, Mahler and Cordes, Biochemistry, Harper and Row, 1966; 2nd edition, 1971, cloth. Mahler and Cordes, Basic Biochemistry, Harper and Row, 1968, cloth. Cordes and Schaeffer, Chemistry, Harper and Row, 1973, more

Table of contents

1. Life: Unity out of Diversity ; 2. Life: Central Properties ; 3. Molecular Structures Based on Carbon: The Foundation for the Molecules of Life ; 4. Building Blocks and Glue ; 5. From Methane to Chemical Communication ; 6. Nitrogen and Oxygen: Atmospheric Elements ; 7. More About Oxygen-Containing Molecules ; 8. Now for the Rest of the Elements in Vitamin Pills ; 9. Proteins: An Amazing Collection of Multifunctional Molecules ; 10. Amino Acids: The Building Blocks of Proteins ; 11. Proteins Are Three-dimensional Objects ; 12. Nucleotides Are the Building Blocks of Nucleic Acids: The Stuff of Genes ; 13. The Central Dogma of Biology and Protein Synthesis ; 14. Genomes ; 15. Vitamins: Molecules of Life ; 16. Carbohydrates: Sweetness and Life ; 17. Generating Energy from Catabolism ; 18. Fatty Acids: The Building Blocks of Lipids ; 19. Lipids: The Greasy Stuff of Life ; 20. Steroids: Sex and Other Good Things ; 21. Your Brain: What It Does And How It Works ; 22. Your Brain: Good Things and Not-Good Things ; 23. Antibiotics: The Never-Ending War Against Infectious Disease. ; 24. Cancer: What It Is and What We Can Do About It ; 25. Chemical Communicationshow more

Rating details

6 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 17% (1)
4 33% (2)
3 33% (2)
2 17% (1)
1 0% (0)
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