Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet

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9780007163649: Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet

A story of a world in crisis and the importance of plants, the history of the earth, and the feuds and fantasies of warring scientists—this is not your fourth-grade science class's take on photosynthesis.

From acclaimed science journalist Oliver Morton comes this fascinating, lively, profound look at photosynthesis, nature's greatest miracle. Wherever there is greenery, photosynthesis isworking to make oxygen, release energy, and create living matter from the raw material of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. Without photosynthesis, there would be an empty world, an empty sky, and a sun that does nothing more than warm the rocks and reflect off the sea. With photosynthesis, we have a living world with three billion years of sunlight-fed history to relish.

Eating the Sun is a bottom-up account of our planet, a celebration of how the smallest things, enzymes and pigments, influence the largest things­­—the oceans, the rainforests, and the fossil fuel economy. From the physics, chemistry, and cellular biology that make photosynthesis possible, to the quirky and competitive scientists who first discovered the beautifully honed mechanisms of photosynthesis, to the modern energy crisis we face today, Oliver Morton offers a complete biography of the earth through the lens of this mundane and most important of processes.

More than this, Eating the Sun is a call to arms. Only by understanding photosynthesis and the flows of energy it causes can we hope to understand the depth and subtlety of the current crisis in the planet's climate. What's more, nature's greatest energy technology may yet inspire the breakthroughs we need to flourish without such climatic chaos in the century to come.

Entertaining, thought-provoking, and deeply illuminating, Eating the Sun reveals that photosynthesis is not only the key to humanity's history; it is also vital to confronting and understanding contemporary realities like climate change and the global food shortage. This book will give you a new and perhaps troubling way of seeing the world, but it also explains how we can change our situation—for the better or the worse.

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From the Publisher:

"A vast, elegant synthesis of biology, physics and environmental science that can inform our discussions of urgent issues"
- Publishers Weekly

"Meticulous but always engaging account of photosynthesis, the process that makes life possible...Top-notch popular-science writing."
- Kirkus Reviews

"Everything you could possibly want from a popular science book. There is wonder here, and intellectual excitement; clear explanation and lyrical writing; and much new insight into how the world works, linking the very small and very large...Research funders should feel a duty to take heed. Everyone else can read Morton's fascinating book for pleasure."
-- The Independent

"A book that may re-order the way you think about the world...[Eating the Sun] is a refrain in praise of photosynthesis, the Earth's energy and order currency-exchange market. It is also an entertaining history of how the subject arrived where it is today--and an illuminating insight for the non-scientist."
-- The Economist

"Highly original....Brilliant and beautifully written....Morton is as compelling and eloquent in describing the evolution of landscape as he is at describing the evolution of life itself."
-- The Sunday Telegraph

"A rare delight....Oliver Morton writes so engagingly that [Eating the Sun] reads as a well-crafted biography of the earth on behalf of the plant kingdom."
-- Prospect Magazine

"I enjoyed this book as much for the crazed asides as for the upsetting insights."
-- Sunday Times (London)

From the Back Cover:

Wherever there is greenery, photosynthesis is working to make oxygen, release energy, and create living matter from the raw material of sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. Without photosynthesis, there would be an empty world, an empty sky, and a sun that does nothing more than warm the rocks and reflect off the sea.

Eating the Sun is the story of a world in crisis; an appreciation of the importance of plants; a history of the earth and the feuds and fantasies of warring scientists; a celebration of how the smallest things, enzymes and pigments, influence the largest things, the oceans, the rainforests, and the fossil fuel economy. Oliver Morton offers a fascinating, lively, profound look at nature's greatest miracle and sounds a much-needed call to arms—illuminating a potential crisis of climatic chaos and explaining how we can change our situation, for better or for worse.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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