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Of Molecules and Men (Great Minds Series)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

There is probably no one who has a deeper understanding of life's biochemical basis than Francis Crick. In 1962, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with J. D. Watson and M. H. F. Wilkins, for breakthrough studies on the molecular structure of DNA. Just four years later he published this collection of popular lectures in which he explained the importance of this discovery in layperson's terms and emphasized its wide-reaching implications. Though written forty years ago, this succinct, lucid explication of the scientific facts remains the perfect primer for the lay reader curious about the ongoing biological revolution.

Crick begins with a critique of "vitalism," the notion that an intangible life force beyond the grasp of biology distinguishes living organisms from inanimate things. Although few speak of vitalism today, the controversy that Crick addresses is still with us in the form of intelligent design, which suggests that biochemistry and evolution alone do not sufficiently explain the uniqueness of life. In his second lecture Crick explores the borderline between the organic and inorganic, presenting an elegantly clear description of DNA's basic structure and function in relation to RNA and myriad enzymes. In the final lecture, "The Prospect Before Us," he anticipates events and trends that have in fact come to pass in the past four decades: the increasing use of computer technology and robotics in mind-brain research, explorations into right-side vs. leftside uses of the brain, controversies surrounding the existence of the soul, the dead end of ESP investigations, and above all the daunting challenges of explaining consciousness in completely scientific terms. "Of Molecules and Men is a fascinating, still-very-relevant discussion of many crucially important issues in life science.

Book News Annotation:

These three 1966 lectures by Noble laureate Crick explain why "vitalism," the idea that an intangible life force beyond the grasp of science distinguishes the animate from the inanimate, is itself dead. In his first lecture he dismisses vitalism as unnecessary; in the second he explains why he believes it to be unnecessary due to his understanding of DNA, RNA and their associated array of enzymes; in the third, he predicts that vitalism, in which everyone believed in the past, and some believe in the present, will in the near future be the exclusive territory of cranks.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

US

Product Details

ISBN:
9781591021858
Author:
Crick, Francis
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Location:
Amherst, N.Y.
Subject:
Biology
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Molecular biology
Subject:
Life Sciences - Biology - Molecular Biology
Subject:
Biology-Molecular
Subject:
General science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Great Minds Series
Series Volume:
2004-3
Publication Date:
20040431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
99
Dimensions:
3800x3800

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Related Subjects

Computers and Internet » Networking » General
Reference » Science Reference » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Genetics
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Molecular

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