Author(s): Jim Al-Khalili; Johnjoe McFadden
New York Times Bestseller and an Amazon Best Science Book of 2015, Life on the Edge alters our understanding of our world's fundamental dynamics through the use of quantum mechanics
Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how did it come to be? Even in an age of cloning and artificial biology, the remarkable truth remains: nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we still missing a vital ingredient in its creation?
Using first-hand experience at the cutting edge of science, Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe Macfadden reveal that missing ingredient to be quantum mechanics. Drawing on recent ground-breaking experiments around the world, each chapter in Life on the Edge illustrates one of life's puzzles: How do migrating birds know where to go? How do we really smell the scent of a rose? How do our genes copy themselves with such precision? Life on the Edge accessibly reveals how quantum mechanics can answer these probing questions of the universe.
Guiding the reader through the rapidly unfolding discoveries of the last few years, Al-Khalili and McFadden describe the explosive new field of quantum biology and its potentially revolutionary applications, while offering insights into the biggest puzzle of all: what is life? As they brilliantly demonstrate in these groundbreaking pages, life exists on the quantum edge.
- Winner, Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication
The startling discovery that the weirdness of quantum mechanics provides the vital spark that ignites life
Shortlisted for Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2015.
"Hugely ambitious ... the skill of the writing provides the uplift to keep us aloft as we fly through the strange and spectacular terra incognita of genuinely new science." -- Tom Whipple The Times "Physicist Jim Al-Khalili and molecular biologist Johnjoe McFadden explore this extraordinary realm with cogency and wit." Nature Magazine "A really original science book about a new field of research ... Groundbreaking." -- Clive Cookson Financial Times "This thrilling book is an overview of a field that barely exists ... Al-Khalili has a genius for illustrating complex ideas via imaginative sidetracks." The Sunday Telegraph "'Life on the Edge' gives the clearest account I've ever read of the possible ways in which the very small events of the quantum world can affect the world of middle-sized living creatures like us. With great vividness and clarity it shows how our world is tinged, even saturated, with the weirdness of the quantum." Philip Pullman
Professor Jim Al-Khalili, OBE is an academic, author and broadcaster. He is a leading theoretical physicist based at the University of Surrey, where he teaches and carries out research in quantum mechanics. Professor Johnjoe McFadden is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey and is the editor of leading text books on both molecular biology and systems biology of tuberculosis. For over a decade, he has specialised in examining tuberculosis and meningitis.