Rhythms of Life: The Biological Clocks that Control the Daily Lives of Every Living Thing

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9780300109696: Rhythms of Life: The Biological Clocks that Control the Daily Lives of Every Living Thing

Why can’t teenagers get out of bed in the morning? How do bees tell the time? Why do some plants open and close their flowers at the same time each day? Why do so many people suffer the misery of jet lag? In this fascinating book, Russell Foster and Leon Kreitzman explain the significance of the biological clock, showing how it has played an essential role in evolution and why it continues to play a vitally important role in all living organisms.

The authors tell us that biological clocks are embedded in our genes and reset at sunrise and sunset each day to link astronomical time with an organism’s internal time. They discuss how scientists are working out the clockwork mechanisms and what governs them, and they describe how organisms measure different intervals of time, how they are adapted to various cycles, and how light coordinates the time within to the external world. They review problems that can be caused by malfunctioning biological clocks including jet lag, seasonal affective disorder, and depression. And they warn that although new drugs are being promoted to allow us to stay awake for longer periods, a 24/7 lifestyle can have a harmful impact on our health, both as individuals and as a society.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Vintage Polkinghorne: clear, informed, interdisciplinarily sophisticated, compelling."--Miroslav Volf, Yale Divinity School

"Polkinghorne writes convincingly, fairly, and with nuance, choosing relevant and sometimes wonderfully surprising examples from nature or the Bible. He provides dozens of almost completely new ways of seeing connections among various phenomena."--Guy Fitch Lytle III, The School of Theology, The University of the South, Sewanee

"This book makes a vital contribution to the dialogue between science and theology. Polkinghorne is unique in his desire to make the interaction a two-way relationship, where science informs theology and theology illuminates science."--Nathan J. Hallanger, The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union

About the Author:

Russell Foster is professor of molecular neuroscience at Imperial College, London, and is a leading expert on chronobiology. Leon Kreitzman, a writer and broadcaster, is the author of The 24 Hour Society.

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