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Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planetby Oliver Morton
Synopses & Reviews
A story of a world in crisis and the importance of plants, the history of the earth, and the feuds and fantasies of warring scientists--this is not your fourth-grade science class's take on photosynthesis.
From acclaimed science journalist Oliver Morton comes this fascinating, lively, profound look at photosynthesis, nature's greatest miracle. Wherever there is greenery, photosynthesis isworking to make oxygen, release energy, and create living matter from the raw material of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. Without photosynthesis, there would be an empty world, an empty sky, and a sun that does nothing more than warm the rocks and reflect off the sea. With photosynthesis, we have a living world with three billion years of sunlight-fed history to relish.
Eating the Sun is a bottom-up account of our planet, a celebration of how the smallest things, enzymes and pigments, influence the largest things----the oceans, the rainforests, and the fossil fuel economy. From the physics, chemistry, and cellular biology that make photosynthesis possible, to the quirky and competitive scientists who first discovered the beautifully honed mechanisms of photosynthesis, to the modern energy crisis we face today, Oliver Morton offers a complete biography of the earth through the lens of this mundane and most important of processes.
More than this, Eating the Sun is a call to arms. Only by understanding photosynthesis and the flows of energy it causes can we hope to understand the depth and subtlety of the current crisis in the planet's climate. What's more, nature's greatest energy technology may yet inspire the breakthroughs we need to flourish without such climatic chaos in thecentury to come.
Entertaining, thought-provoking, and deeply illuminating, Eating the Sun reveals that photosynthesis is not only the key to humanity's history; it is also vital to confronting and understanding contemporary realities like climate change and the global food shortage. This book will give you a new and perhaps troubling way of seeing the world, but it also explains how we can change our situation--for the better or the worse.
The everyday miracle of photosynthesis is the topic of this accessible book by an award-winning science journalist, who received high praise for his last book, "Mapping Mars."
Long before more infamous creatures such as T. Rex walked the earth, green organisms were the dominant life forms. Evidence suggests that chlorophyll, responsible for coloring these organisms, has been in existence for some 85% of the Earthandrsquo;s long history. Ancient predecessors of todayandrsquo;s plants and the communities they formed are quite different from much of life today, but at the same time some incredible similarities have been retained.and#160;
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; How the Earth Turned Green traces the history of this taxon--those that are colored by chlorophyll and what many would call plants--from their ancient beginnings to the diversity of green organisms that inhabit the earth today. Using an evolutionary framework, the manuscript addresses questions such as should all green organisms be considered plants? Why do these organisms look the way they do? How are they related to one another and other living organisms? How do they reproduce? How have they changed and diversified over time? And how has the presence of green organisms changed the Earth and its environment?
On this blue planet, long before pterodactyls took to the skies and tyrannosaurs prowled the continents, tiny green organisms populated the ancient oceans. Fossil and phylogenetic evidence suggests that chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for coloring these organisms, has been in existence for some 85% of Earthand#8217;s long historyand#151;that is, for roughly 3.5 billion years. In How the Earth Turned Green, Joseph E. Armstrong traces the history of these verdant organisms, which many would call plants, from their ancient beginnings to the diversity of green life that inhabits the Earth today.
Using an evolutionary framework, How the Earth Turned Green addresses questions such as: Should all green organisms be considered plants? Why do these organisms look the way they do? How are they related to one another and to other chlorophyll-free organisms? How do they reproduce? How have they changed and diversified over time? And how has the presence of green organisms changed the Earthand#8217;s ecosystems? More engaging than a traditional textbook and displaying an astonishing breadth, How the Earth Turned Green will both delight and enlighten embryonic botanists and any student interested in the evolutionary history of plants.
From acclaimed science journalist Oliver Morton comes Eating the Sun, a fascinating, lively, profound look at photosynthesis, nature's greatest miracle. From the physics, chemistry, and cellular biology that make photosynthesis possible, to the quirky and competitive scientists who first discovered the beautifully honed mechanisms of photosynthesis, to the modern energy crisis we face today, Eating the Sun offers a complete biography of the earth through the lens of this common but crucial process.
About the Author
Award-winning science journalist Oliver Morton is the author of Mapping Mars, a contributing editor at Wired, and a contributor for The New Yorker, Science, and The American Scholar. He lives with his wife in Greenwich, England.
Table of Contents
Preface: A Botanist at Large
1: A Green World
2: Small Green Beginnings
3: Cellular Collaborations
4: A Big Blue Marble
5: Down by the Sea (-weeds)
6: The Great Invasion
7: The Pioneer Spirit
8: Back to the Devonian
9: Seeds to Success
10: A Cretaceous Takeover
11: All Flesh Is Grass
Brown Algae and Tribophyceans
Clubmosses and Fossil Stem Groups
Conifers and Ginkgoes
Coniferophytes: Cordaitales and Voltziales
Rhyniophytes and Trimerophytes
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