The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life

4.14 avg rating
( 2,025 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780393088816: The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life

To explain the mystery of how life evolved on Earth, Nick Lane explores the deep link between energy and genes.

The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there’s a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists.

For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen?

The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane’s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths.

Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life’s vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?

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

About the Author:

Nick Lane is a biochemist in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London, and leads the UCL Origins of Life Program. He was awarded the 2015 Biochemical Society Award for his outstanding contribution to the molecular life sciences. He is the author of Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution, which won the 2010 Royal Society Prize for Science Books, as well as Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life and Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World.

Review:

“[Nick Lane] proves an able guide through treacherous scientific terrain. He writes in lucid, accessible prose, and while the science may get dense, the reader will be rewarded with a strikingly unconventional view of biology.”
- Tim Requarth, The New York Times

“An amazing inquiry into the origins of life.”
- Bill Gates

“If I were a rich man, I would buy up the print run of this book and give a copy to every science undergraduate ahead of his or her first course in cell biology.”
- Franklin Harold, Microbe Magazine

“One of the deepest, most illuminating books about the history of life to have been published in recent years.”
- The Economist

“Masterful.... This terribly important book...is a manifesto for the future of basic biology.”
- Adam Rutherford, Observer (UK)

“He is an original researcher and thinker and a passionate and stylish populariser. His theories are ingenious, breathtaking in scope, and challenging in every sense...intellectually what Lane is proposing, if correct, will be as important as the Copernican revolution.”
- Peter Forbes, Guardian (UK)

“This is a book of vast scope and ambition, brimming with bold and important ideas.... The arguments are powerful and persuasive...an incredible, epic story.”
- Michael Le Page, New Scientist (UK)

“Comes triumphantly close to cracking the secret of why life is the way it is, to a depth that would boggle any ancient philosopher's mind.”
- Matt Ridley, The Times (UK)

“A scintillating synthesis of a new theory of life.”
- Clive Cookson, Financial Times (UK)

“In this, his third book about energy and life, [Lane] comes triumphantly close to cracking the secret of why life is the way it is, to a depth that would boggle any ancient philosopher’s mind.”
- Matt Ridley, The Sunday Times (UK)

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

Buy New View Book
List Price: US$ 27.95
US$ 9.99

Convert Currency

Shipping: US$ 6.00
From Canada to U.S.A.

Destination, Rates & Speeds

Add to Basket

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Lane, Nick
Published by W. W. Norton & Company 2015-07-28 (2015)
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Hardcover Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
BookOutlet
(Thorold, ON, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description W. W. Norton & Company 2015-07-28, 2015. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Bookseller Inventory # 9780393088816B

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.00
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Lane, Nick
Published by W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Hardcover Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description W. W. Norton & Company. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0393088812 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI2122241667

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 17.62
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Lane, Nick
Published by W. W. Norton & Company (2015)
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
pickabook
(San francisco, CA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000176517

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 18.09
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Nick Lane
Published by WW Norton Co, United States (2017)
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description WW Norton Co, United States, 2017. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The Earth teems with life: in its oceans, forests, skies and cities. Yet there s a black hole at the heart of biology. We do not know why complex life is the way it is, or, for that matter, how life first began. In The Vital Question, award-winning author and biochemist Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a solution to conundrums that have puzzled generations of scientists. For two and a half billion years, from the very origins of life, single-celled organisms such as bacteria evolved without changing their basic form. Then, on just one occasion in four billion years, they made the jump to complexity. All complex life, from mushrooms to man, shares puzzling features, such as sex, which are unknown in bacteria. How and why did this radical transformation happen? The answer, Lane argues, lies in energy: all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a lightning bolt. Building on the pillars of evolutionary theory, Lane s hypothesis draws on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and cell biology, in order to deliver a compelling account of evolution from the very origins of life to the emergence of multicellular organisms, while offering deep insights into our own lives and deaths. Both rigorous and enchanting, The Vital Question provides a solution to life s vital question: why are we as we are, and indeed, why are we here at all?. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780393088816

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 27.32
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Nick Lane
Published by W. W. Norton & Company (2015)
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
California Spanish Books
(San francisco, CA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # I-9780393088816

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Nick Lane
Published by W. W. Norton & Company (2015)
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0393088812

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 32.03
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Nick Lane
Published by W. W. Norton & Company 2017-06-01, New York (2017)
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Blackwell's
(Oxford, OX, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description W. W. Norton & Company 2017-06-01, New York, 2017. hardback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 9780393088816

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.68
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Nick Lane
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Majestic Books
(London, ,, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. 352. Bookseller Inventory # 373789009

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 25.61
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.33
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Lane, Nick
Published by W. W. Norton & Company (2015)
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # BKTY9780393088816

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 36.36
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Lane, Nick
Published by W. W. Norton & Company (2015)
ISBN 10: 0393088812 ISBN 13: 9780393088816
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Nearfine Books
(Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. Book Condition: new. Shiny and new! Expect delivery in 20 days. Bookseller Inventory # 9780393088816-1

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 39.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book