Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World Hardcover – 1 Sep 2002
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"...Nick Lane marshals an impressive array of evidence - [an] ambitious narrative [...]This is science writing at its best" -- Jerome Burne The Financial Times
A glorious book that tells of dragonflies as big as seagulls, the magic of photosynthesis...and why we get old. Do NOT miss this book! -- David Freeman, Relaxwithabook.com, August 2002
A truly unique book which takes the reader into unknown territory... might well become the talking point of 2003. -- John Emsley, Chemistry at Cambridge, Autumn 2002
A wonderful book... a scientific saga as compelling as any creation myth and Lane tells it with appropriate zeal -- Tim Lenton, Times Higher Educational Supplement
An extraordinary orchestration of disparate scientific disciplines, connecting the origins of life on earth with disease, age and death in human beings. -- Sunday Times (John Cornwell)
Highly ambitious... a piece of radical scientific polemic, nothing less than a total rethink of how life evolved... science writing at its best. -- Jerome Burne, Financial Times 16 November 2002
Lane overturns theories about how our planet came to have an atmosphere that was 21% oxygen... -- The Times, October 5, 2002
Lane's learning and historical scope enable vivid descriptions of the role oxygen has played in determining the course of evolution -- Times Literary Supplement (Michael Peel)
Oxygen is the story of life on Earth.... Lanes chapters are dispatches from the frontiers of research into Earth and life history.... -- The Guardian (Tim Radford)
[Oxygen's] history has never been told as well as Lane tells it here... one of the better books to appear this year. -- David Payne, Focus Magazine, November 2002
an entertaining and cogent account of how oxidative stress fits in to our rapidly expanding knowledge about ageing... deserves to be widely read -- Nature (Tom Kirkwood)
From the Back Cover
'...popular science writing at its very best - clear yet challenging, speculative yet rigorous. The book is a tour de force which orchestrates a seamless story out of both venerable ideas and very recent discoveries in several disparate fields.'
'... a breathtaking, broad vision of the role of a single gas in our life, from the origin of organisms, through the emergence of creatures, and to their deaths ... packed full of interesting life- and death-stories .... A wonderful read.'
'... one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read.'
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Top Customer Reviews
What does this book deal with? Oxygen is an all-important molecule, which is fundamental to life, however it is also a threatening and toxic element as well. Through this book, Nick Lane explains the importance oxygen had in the evolution of life. How it is inferred that our Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) possessed already a series of genes and proteins that lasted until our present days. How these have developed in response to oxidation stress from the environment. How the responses are similar to an organism's reaction to an infectious disease. How this is related to diseases such as Alzheimer, cancer and diabetes. How this can give clues to unravel the secrets of ageing in organisms and the search for better ways to extend a person's life span.
The book covers the early biological, atmospheric, and geological evolution of the Earth. It presents basic biochemical reaction mechanisms. It covers biology and medical research.Read more ›
Writing objectively and entertainingly about science is a challenge that Nick Lane pulls off brilliantly in this book. Lay readers like me should be grateful that the author has resisted the temptation to over-simplify, for mass market consumption, such a richly complex subject area as this. Consequently one does need to concentrate in order to follow the plot, but Lane's way of connecting scientific ideas through their evolutionary history provides a sure thread - a thread strung with many pearls. Time after time, through painstaking research and brilliant insights, scientific notions arrive and have their day, only to be demolished by new evidence and replaced by a new paradigm. The chapters unfold like detective stories, with sub-plots, twists and turns in mankind's long struggle to understand. By the end one feels as well informed as anyone else on the planet and ready to explore the side-avenues of knowledge lying wait in the many literature sources cited.
This book will make you feel an awful lot more well-informed about aging and about the evolution of life, and is reassuringly optimistic about the former, stating that: "aging is neither programmed nor inevitable".
The concepts are introduced thick and fast. By the end you will be an expert on the differences between the Dispoable Soma and Antagonistic Pleitropy theories of ageing! However, the use of diagrams and illustrations is sparing and a general reader will find several chapters a struggle. Some sections read like a biochemistry text book and it is also unclear when he deviates from mainstream thinking into more controversial theories.
A readable account, but this belies the level of difficulty of some of the concepts and pushes it somewhat beyond the popular science genre.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nick Lane is a fine science writer and this book is fascinating, not an easy book (for me anyway) but well worth persevering with.Published 20 days ago by J. Wilson
Most interesting book i've ever read. This should be compulsory reading for all students at A level and beyond. Read morePublished 5 months ago by househusband
Not finished it yet but intensely interesting and full of information which I have longed for. Excellent book.Published 5 months ago by claudialogan
I read this book some time after reading Nick Lane's second book Power, Sex, Suicide. This book describes the natural history of oxygen on our planet over the last several billion... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ken Dalley
one of the best science book I have read. a lot of info I didn't know. Hope the author continue to produce this sort of quality work.Published 22 months ago by l