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Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines…
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Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos (udgave 2012)

af Peter M. Hoffmann (Forfatter)

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1142187,842 (4.14)2
Life is an enduring mystery. Yet, science tells us that living beings are merely sophisticated structures of lifeless molecules. If this view is correct, where do the seemingly purposeful motions of cells and organisms originate? In Life's Ratchet, physicist Peter M. Hoffmann locates the answer to this age-old question at the nanoscale. Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what Hoffmann calls the molecular storm--specialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the "purpose" that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a city--an unfathomable, complex collection of molecular workers working together to create something greater than themselves. Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. We are agglomerations of interacting nanoscale machines more amazing than anything in science fiction. Rather than relying on some mysterious "life force" to drive them--as people believed for centuries--life's ratchets harness instead the second law of thermodynamics and the disorder of the molecular storm. Grounded in Hoffmann's own cutting-edge research, Life's Ratchet reveals the incredible findings of modern nanotechnology to tell the story of how the noisy world of atoms gives rise to life itself.… (mere)
Medlem:IbanezerScrooge
Titel:Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos
Forfattere:Peter M. Hoffmann (Forfatter)
Info:Basic Books (2012), Edition: 1, 288 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos af Peter M. Hoffmann

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I first listened to this as an audiobook and was so enamoured I purchased the soft cover so I could mark it up and see the diagrams. While this is not the only book which attempt to describe the internal workings of the body in at the level where physics, biology and chemistry merge and chaos rules, but Hoffman does it seemleesly and in an understandable fashion (definitely targeting science nerds). There is no point at which the probabililist nature of life does not exist, it is just that we can usually ignore it’s effect as we study workings on a larger scale. There is no point at which quantum physical properties cease to exist, there is a continuum along which the small size scale we become interested in requires us to incorporate probabilistic effects of quantum physics into out thinking and models. This book stay on my self and is NOT achchived ( )
  kurdziel | Jan 19, 2019 |
Library Journal August 2013
  smsulibrary2 | Mar 28, 2014 |
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A biophysicist examines the relationship between chance and necessity at the boundary between life and inanimate objects.

The author applies Darwin's profound insight into the evolution of species to the question of how life itself evolved. He shows how Darwin implicitly resolved the split between reductionism and vitalism with the discovery of natural selection. Hoffmann distinguishes between macroscopic machines created to serve a specific purpose and the “autonomous [molecular] machines” found in life. He believes that the key to their functioning is the relationship between different kinds of energy at the nanoscale level, where different kinds of energy (chemical, electrostatic, thermal, etc.) operate on the same scale. He speculates about the “exciting possibility that the molecules in our body can spontaneously convert different types of energy into one another.” By creating order from the chaotic storm of thermal energy through a process of natural selection, the mechanisms and enzymes necessary for a cell to live come into being. “Evolution is not random,” Hoffmann writes. “It is a collaboration between a random process (mutation) and a nonrandom, necessary process (selection)….all of nature is a result of this balance.”

A fascinating mix of cutting-edge science with philosophy and theology.
tilføjet af yapete | RedigerKirkus Reviews (Sep 15, 2012)
 
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If we were seeking the “life force,” the force that animates life, then our search has been successful. This animating force is the random force of atoms, the jittering afterglow of the creation of the universe.
The universe is the child of chance and necessity. Every star and galaxy, planet and mountain, microbe and elephant is a testament to the interaction between these two basic tendencies of nature.
Many people express incredulity that something like a human could be the result of the “blind forces” of chance and necessity. They want to believe that the creation of complex structures requires the planning mind of a designer. But how does a mind invent? How do new ideas arise? Are new ideas not chance events, popping into our heads like uninvited houseguests? Could not the same molecular storm that animates our cells sometimes shake our thoughts and create sudden insights?
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Life is an enduring mystery. Yet, science tells us that living beings are merely sophisticated structures of lifeless molecules. If this view is correct, where do the seemingly purposeful motions of cells and organisms originate? In Life's Ratchet, physicist Peter M. Hoffmann locates the answer to this age-old question at the nanoscale. Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what Hoffmann calls the molecular storm--specialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the "purpose" that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a city--an unfathomable, complex collection of molecular workers working together to create something greater than themselves. Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. We are agglomerations of interacting nanoscale machines more amazing than anything in science fiction. Rather than relying on some mysterious "life force" to drive them--as people believed for centuries--life's ratchets harness instead the second law of thermodynamics and the disorder of the molecular storm. Grounded in Hoffmann's own cutting-edge research, Life's Ratchet reveals the incredible findings of modern nanotechnology to tell the story of how the noisy world of atoms gives rise to life itself.

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