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The Origin of Life (Penguin Science) Paperback – 6 Feb 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (6 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141013028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141013022
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

`Delightful...Davies succeeds not only in being provocative and
controversial, but in maintaining the rigorous scientific approach of the
physicist... a classic example of how to present a scientific case, and an
insight into the way good scientists work' -- John Gribbin, Independent

`One of the handful of first-rate scientists who are popular writers. The
Origin of Life is one of his best works... If you are going to read only
one book on the origin of life, seriously consider this one' -- The New York Times

`The best science writer either side of the Atlantic' -- Washington Tiimes

About the Author

Paul Davies is an internationally acclaimed physicist, writer and broadcaster, who holds the position of Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University, Sidney.

He is the suthor of over twenty books, including The Mind of God, About Time and How to Build a Time Machine.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Imagine boarding a time machine and being transported back four billion years. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By astrocurly on 19 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
One might think that by renaming a book "The Origin of Life", the writer is claiming to provide an answer to the ultimate question of how life started. While he supplies no definite answer as such, Davies both widens and deepens the debate on how life might have started. He demonstrates possible links between "inanimate" complex molecular structures and the simplest microbial lifeforms through steps such as self-assembly molecules. The importance of extremophiles at the start of the evolutionary chain is highlighted - an argument he uses to point out that life may have travelled through the solar system in rocks and comets. Although I was at first very sceptical about minute Martians "seeding" the Earth in this way, the author convinced me that this is a possibility worthy of consideration.
The book is very easily read as the science does not go too deep and there are extensive references for those wishing to go further. I would recommend Ward and Brownlee's "Rare Earth" for the reader wanting to delve deeper into the science. Generally though, "The Origin of Life" will appeal to anyone interested in evolution and astrobiology. All in all, a super book and well written!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teemacs on 9 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Those who can, do, those who can't, teach" wrote my countryman George Bernard Shaw somewhat unkindly. The communication of ideas to others in a comprehensible, interesting form is a skill all of its own. Here we have an example of someone who not only can do, but also can teach, a leading scientist with a gift of communicating ideas clearly and in an interesting manner. Some of the concepts are mind-blowing, but Professor Davies seems to have an innate capacity to realise how far to take things, so that he remains within the boundaries of the intelligent layman, without straying into the highly-technical area of the specialist, yet does not leave that layman feeling in any way short-changed or talked down to. He gives us a glimpse into fascinating worlds of scientific endeavour and thought, but is refreshingly candid in saying "we don't know", when we don't. All the possibilities, no matter how apparently bizarre, are given their say and subjected to rigorous examination.

The origin of life remains a mystery, and may forever remain thus, and perhaps there are those who regard any sort of speculation as pointless. But that would be a denial of who we are, curious creatures driven by the urge to know and explore. Without that urge, we would no longer be human. This dazzling little book give full voice to that thirst for knowledge, into the most fundamental question of all. Highly recommended.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By the great amphibian on 13 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
I found this book of Paul Davies's very lucid to read, and back in the summer it was one of the only books that I read in a single day. I remember being sat in the conservatory overheating with the greenhouse effect of the transparent roofing - it being a hot summer here in England - and perhaps this made my imagination drift more into what I was reading. But whatever, Davies's book, (originally published as the Fifth Miracle), certainly provided ripe sod for my imagination to bear fruits, (I think that for part of the time I was sitting under the table and fell asleep for an hour or so, dreaming of meteorites travelling from Mars to Earth and things; perhaps dreaming in the the middle or reading a book such as this isn't a bad idea, as the ideas get given a dry run through the imagination, which may help to establish whether they are realistic or not). One Russian friend of mine commented that popular science writers are likely to try and sensationalise their work in order to make it more exciting, and I suppose that I cannot really deny that this is a valid comment, but I wouldn't really agree with it straight away either. It seems that Paul Davies is really serious about his theories here, such as the chance that life was transported from Mars to Earth, (or even vice versa), via meteorites being launched into the cosmogony with extremophiles on board, (bacteria that can withstand extreme conditions). I have read another Paul Davies book in full also, (About Time), so I can say that someone who reads Paul Davies would not at all be disappointed by the writing quality in The Origin of Life, and the imagination with which Paul delivers his theories, (and other established theory), to the reader. Paul adopts the academic position name or "Astrobiologist" for this book, which fits the theme of the book perfectly; I don't know if he has always called himself an astrobiologist or if he sometimes refers to himself as an astronomer. I would wholly recommend this book.
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By michael webster on 2 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
learnt a lot very interesting explained as clearly as possible might have to read it again though will recommend it
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S Hussain on 29 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The whole Paul Davies books are full of crap, very out dated. No point purchasing
Them.
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