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Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 30. Oktober 2012
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City Book Review
Life's Ratchet is nothing short of brilliant. With wit and literary prowess, author Peter M. Hoffmann delivers a profound message about the nature of the life within our lives. He writes with a grace and careful thoughtfulnessthe Shakespeare of scientific literacy.”
Physics World, Best Books of 2012
[A] clearly written book about molecular motors and other nanoscale structures.... It does a very good job of capturing the excitement driving current research on this increasingly important topic.”
Life's Ratchet engagingly tells the story of how science has begun to realize the potential for matter to spontaneously construct complex processes, such as those inherent to living systems. The book is a good mix of history and the latest concepts, straightforwardly explained . The book's important message is that there is a revolution brewing. This revolution will not tell us what matter is made of. Instead, as described in Life's Ratchet, it will tell us how matter and energy combine to make me and you.”
In Life's Ratchet, biophysicist Peter Hoffmann reveals that the secret to life isn't some mysterious force. Rather, it is chaos itself. Hoffmann provides a ringside perspective on life at its most fundamental level, gained through his work on imaging and manipulating molecules.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A fascinating mix of cutting-edge science with philosophy and theology.”
Werner R. Loewenstein, author of The Touchstone of Life and Physics in Mind
Peter Hoffmann brings the universe of the very small to life. Life's Ratchet is an exciting guide to the wondrous strange nanoworld of molecules driving the machinery of life. Engaging, provocative, and profound.”
[A] fascinating glimpse into recent research on molecular machines, research that lies at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and physics.... Life's Ratchet does an excellent job of conveying the tension between mechanical descriptions of molecular machines...and the chemical perspective.... I highly recommend this book to scientists in the fields of biophysics and nanoscience as a readable introduction to a broad variety of topics in those areas.”
What distinguishes life from its nonliving ingredients? How could life arise from the lifeless? These questions have vexed philosophers sand scientists for more than 2,500 years. Bio-besotted physicist Peter Hoffmann wrote Life's Ratchet to get to the beating heart of the matter. After a lively, lucid grand tour of the controversy's history...Hoffmann arrives at modern molecular biology and the technological breakthroughs, such as atomic force microscopy, that enable us to see the very atoms of a cell.... A masterwork of making the complex comprehensible, this book would make a smashing freshman biology textbookand that's a compliment.”
How the noisy atomic cloud gives rise to the orderly world of the molecular machine-and to life itselfAlle Produktbeschreibungen
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When he comes to the main topic, he lays out an eye- and mind opener. The fictitious "demon" of Maxwell comes to life! The permanent motion of molecules and atoms and the inherent kinetic energy, which the "demon" could have harvested to end all quest for energy forever is only just now about to become a physical reality in the field of "energy harvesting". Here Hoffmann shows that this process of harvesting energy to create order is the very foundation of life. There is an abundance of energy stored in the chaotic movement of atoms and molecules.
Unfortunately this source of energy is not accessible enough to satisfy larger assemblies of living matter. To sustain life however, energy of lower entropy is required that the living organisms convert in to energy of higher entropy. This is also the reason, why I stop here and get myself a bite.
Don't forget, read this book.
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After reading this book I even find myself half-wishing that I could un-retire and go back to the class room to share Hoffmann's insights with students.
Hoffmann employs surprisingly few mathematical formulas to convey his ideas, and illustrates certain of them with simple but instructive diagrams. But although parts of this book read like a novel, it is not all easy reading. It probably is not essential to be well grounded in biochemistry and thermodynamics in order to appreciate Hoffmann's insights, it sure wouldn't hurt!
Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell (discusses how single celled organisms process information)
What is Life? by Addy Pross (discusses the chemical principles by which life could emerge without getting much into specifics)
The Machinery of Life by David S. Goodsell
I didn't read it alongside this, but The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins would probably be of interest.
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