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Life's Edge

The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

Carl Zimmer

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Picador
27 April 2021
Carl Zimmer investigates one of the biggest questions of all: What is life? The answer seems obvious until you try to seriously answer it. Is the apple sitting on your kitchen counter alive, or is only the apple tree it came from deserving of the word? If we can't answer that question here on earth, how will we know when and if we discover alien life on other worlds? The question hangs over some of society's most charged conflicts - whether a fertilized egg is a living person, for example, and when we ought to declare a person legally dead.

Zimmer journeys through the strange experiments that have attempted to re-create life. Literally hundreds of definitions of what that should look like now exist, but none has yet emerged as an obvious winner. Lists of what living things have in common do not add up to a theory of life. It's never clear why some items on the list are essential and others not. Coronaviruses have altered the course of history, and yet many scientists maintain they are not alive. Chemists are creating droplets that can swarm, sense their environment, and multiply. Have they made life in the lab?
By:   Carl Zimmer
Imprint:   Picador
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 233mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 32mm
Weight:   452g
ISBN:   9781529069426
ISBN 10:   1529069424
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   27 April 2021
Recommended Age:   From 18 years
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Carl Zimmer writes the Matter column for the New York Times and has frequently contributed to the Atlantic, National Geographic, Time, and Scientific American. He has won the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Science Journalism Award three times, among a host of other awards and fellowships. He teaches science writing at Yale, has been a guest on NPR's RadioLab, Science Friday, and Fresh Air, and maintains an international speaking schedule. He is the author of thirteen books about science, including She Has Her Mother's Laugh, which was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize in 2018.

Reviews for Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

Profound, lyrical, and fascinating, Life's Edge will give you a newfound appreciation for life itself. It is the work of a master science writer at the height of his skills-a welcome gift at a time when life seems more precious than ever. -- Ed Yong, author of <i>I Contain Multitudes</i> Carl Zimmer shows what a great suspense novel science can be. Life's Edge is a timely exploration in an age when modern Dr. Frankensteins are hard at work, but Carl's artful, vivid, irresistible writing transcends the moment in these twisting chapters of intellectual revelation. Prepare to be enthralled. -- Jennifer Doudna, Nobel Laureate, co-author of <i>A Crack in Creation</i>


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