29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Best popular science book for 20 years.,
This review is from: Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet (Hardcover)
This is the best science book I've read for 20 years, comparable in scope to "The Making of the Atomic Bomb' by Richard Rhodes. It tackles a fascinating, low-profile field, the molecular machinery of photosynthesis, and the history of its elucidation, and then traces all the tangents and implications of that knowledge: the evolution of photosynthesis and its impact on the earth's atmosphere; the co-evolution of plants and animals; the requirements and nature of life on other planets and in other solar systems; the complexity of the carbon-cycle and its interactions with the nitrogen cycle, temperature, volcanism, the weathering of mountains, ice ages, ice-caps, prairies, forests. When at last he arrives at the current carbon/climate crisis you feel really equipped to comprehend the scale of the changes going on and weigh up the merits of all the different energy sources that have been proposed as solutions to the crisis and to the end of fossil fuels. All this territory could be either incredibly dry and dull (I could never stay awake in lectures about plants when I was doing a degree in biology) or sensationalist in its prediction of future catastrophe. But Morton manages to make even the science of electron transport chains fascinating and indeed lyrical, and his take on the environmental situation is sober, compelling and not without hope. Should be required reading for everyone on the planet. At the very least everyone taking a degree in biological sciences.
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Initial post: 6 Sep 2013, 10:47:54 BST
Agreed. This book is woefully under acknowledged and really should be more widely read.
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