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The newest addition to John Brockman’s Edge.org series explores life itself, bringing together the world’s leading biologists, geneticists, and evolutionary theorists—including Richard Dawkins, Edward O. Wilson, J. Craig Venter, and Freeman Dyson. Scientists’ understanding of life is progressing more rapidly than at any point in human history, from the extraordinary decoding of DNA to the controversial emergence of biotechnology. Featuring pioneering biologists, geneticists, physicists, and science writers, Life explains just how far we’ve come—and takes a brilliantly educated guess at where we’re heading. Freeman Dyson borrows from science fiction to contemplate real questions about what constitutes the stuff of life. Richard Dawkins and J. Craig Venter discuss the revelatory similarity of genes to digital information. Matt Ridley argues that nature and nurture are intricately intertwined. Steven Strogatz celebrates the spectacular mathematical synchronicity of fireflies. Edward O. Wilson reveals what ants can teach us about building a superorganism—and, in turn, about how cells build an organism. Elsewhere, David Haig reports new findings on how mothers and fathers individually influence the human genome, while Robert Trivers explores the opposing functions of the conscious and unconscious minds. And there’s much more in this fascinating volume. We may never have all the answers. But the thinkers collected in Life are asking questions that will keep us dreaming for generations.
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