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Fifth Miracle : The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life

Fifth Miracle : The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life - 99 edition

ISBN13: 978-0684863092

Cover of Fifth Miracle : The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life 99 (ISBN 978-0684863092)
ISBN13: 978-0684863092
ISBN10: 068486309X
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 99
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Published: 1999
International: No

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Fifth Miracle : The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life - 99 edition

ISBN13: 978-0684863092

Paul Davies

ISBN13: 978-0684863092
ISBN10: 068486309X
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 99
Publisher: Touchstone Books

Published: 1999
International: No
Summary

ARE WE ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE?In his latest far-reaching book,The Fifth Miracle,internationally acclaimed physicist and writer Paul Davies confronts one of science's great outstanding mysteries -- the origin of life.Three and a half billion years ago, Mars resembled Earth. It was warm and wet and could have supported primitive organisms. If life once existed on Mars, might it have originated there and traveled to Earth inside meteorites blasted into space by cosmic impacts?Davies builds on the latest scientific discoveries and theories to address the larger question: What, exactly, is life? Is it the inevitable by-product of physical laws, as many scientists maintain, or an almost miraculous accident? Are we alone in the universe, or will life emerge on all Earth-like planets? And if there is life elsewhere in the universe, is it preordained to evolve toward greater complexity and intelligence?On the answers to these deep questions hinges the ultimate purpose of mankind -- who we are and what our place might be in the unfolding drama of the cosmos.

Author Bio

Davies, Paul :

Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist and the bestselling author of more than twenty books. He is the recipient of the 1995 Templeton Prize for his work on the philosophical meaning of science. His books include About Time, The Mind of God, God and the New Physics, The Cosmic Blueprint, and Other Worlds.

Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter 1: The Meaning of Life

Life's mysterious origin
What is life?
The life force and other discredited notions
The tale of the ancient molecule
Microbes and the search for Eden

Chapter 2: Against the Tide

The degeneration principle
Where does biological information come from?
The entropy gap: gravity as the fountainhead of order


Chapter 3: Out of the Slime

The tree of life
The three domains of life
The earliest rock fossils
Spontaneous generation
Re-creating the primordial soup
Chance and the origin of life


Chapter 4: The Message in the Machine

Replicate, replicate!
Making a living
The genetic code
Getting the message
A code within the code?


Chapter 5: The Chicken-and-Egg Paradox

RNA first
RNA last
Self-organization: something for nothing?


Chapter 6: The Cosmic Connection

The stardust in your eyes
Cosmic chemistry
Genesis from space
Impact
The Sisyphus effect


Chapter 7: Superbugs

Some like it hot
Life in the underworld
Ascent from Hades
Let them eat rock
The rest is history


Chapter 8: Mars: Red and Dead?

A bad place for a vacation
Flood
The Martian greenhouse
Was there life on Mars?
Is there still life on Mars?
Meteorites from Mars
Traces of life?
Killer plague from the red planet!


Chapter 9: Panspermia

Survival in space
Did life come to Earth in a meteorite?
Did Earthlife come from Mars?
Did Earthlife go to Mars?

Chapter 10: A Bio-Friendly Universe?

Did life ever begin?
Are the laws of nature rigged in law favor of life?
Is it Darwinism all the way down?
A ladder of progress?
Is mind predestined?


Notes

Index


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