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The cells in our bodies consist of molecules, made up of the same carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms found in air and rocks. But molecules, such as water and sugar, are not alive. So how do our cells—assemblies of otherwise “dead” molecules—come to life, and together constitute a living being? In Life’s Ratchet, physicist Peter M. Hoffmann locates the answer to this age-old question at the nanoscale. The complex molecules of our cells can rightfully be called “molecular machines,” or “nanobots”; these machines, unlike any other, work autonomously to create order out of chaos. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, tiny factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a city—an unfathomable, complex collection of molecular worker bees working together to create something greater than themselves. Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through the sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. We are essentially giant assemblies of interacting nanoscale machines; machines more amazing than can be found in any science fiction novel. Incredibly, the molecular machines in our cells function without a mysterious “life force,” nor do they violate any natural laws. Scientists can now prove that life is not supernatural, and that it can be fully understood in the context of science. Part history, part cutting-edge science, part philosophy, Life’s Ratchet takes us from ancient Greece to the laboratories of modern nanotechnology to tell the story of our quest for the machinery of life.
Elizabeth Anscombe’s 1958 essay ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’ contributed to the transformation of the subject from the late 1960s, reversing the trend to assume that there is no intrinsic connection between facts, values, and reasons for action; and directing attention towards the category of virtues. Her later ethical writings were focused on particular ideas and issues such as those of conscience, double-effect, murder, and sexual ethics. In this collection of new essays deriving from a conference held in Oxford these and other aspects of her moral philosophy are examined. Anyone interested in Anscombe’s work all want to read this volume.
The marvelous microbes that made life on Earth possible and support our very existence For almost four billion years, microbes had the primordial oceans all to themselves. The stewards of Earth, these organisms transformed the chemistry of our planet to make it habitable for plants, animals, and us. Life's Engines takes readers deep into the microscopic world to explore how these marvelous creatures made life on Earth possible—and how human life today would cease to exist without them. Paul Falkowski looks "under the hood" of microbes to find the engines of life, the actual working parts that do the biochemical heavy lifting for every living organism on Earth. With insight and humor, he explains how these miniature engines are built—and how they have been appropriated by and assembled like Lego sets within every creature that walks, swims, or flies. Falkowski shows how evolution works to maintain this core machinery of life, and how we and other animals are veritable conglomerations of microbes. A vibrantly entertaining book about the microbes that support our very existence, Life's Engines will inspire wonder about these elegantly complex nanomachines that have driven life since its origin. It also issues a timely warning about the dangers of tinkering with that machinery to make it more "efficient" at meeting the ever-growing demands of humans in the coming century.
Illustrating the development of Brownian ratchets, from their foundations, to their role in the description of life at the molecular scale and in the design of artificial nano-machinery, this text will appeal to both advanced graduates and researchers entering the field. Providing a self-contained introduction to Brownian ratchets, devices which rectify microscopic fluctuations, Part I avoids technicalities and sets out the broad range of physical systems where the concept of ratchets is relevant. Part II supplies a single source for a complete and modern theoretical analysis of ratchets in regimes such as classical vs quantum and stochastic vs deterministic, and in Part III readers are guided through experimental developments in different physical systems, each highlighting a specific unique feature of ratchets. The thorough and systematic approach to the topic ensures that this book provides a complete guide to Brownian ratchets for newcomers and established researchers in physics, biology and biochemistry.
To think about the mind, the self, the will and consciousness used to be left to philosophy. Today neuroscience, genetics and computer science seem poised to take over these topics. Can we find a way to combine modern science with traditional ideas and ways of thinking? What is life? Can we make it? Can we make a person? Can machines think? Do we need the notion of a soul? How does consciousness arise? This book shows how to think about the relation between science and philosophy in order better to understand human nature in the light of modern and traditional knowledge. The aim is not to prove that one approach is better than the other, but to help the reader to form and discuss their own questions. It is a vessel to let you set sail on your own voyage of intellectual discovery.
This full-colour undergraduate textbook, based on a two semestercourse, presents the fundamentals of biological physics,introducing essential modern topics that include cells, polymers,polyelectrolytes, membranes, liquid crystals, phase transitions,self-assembly, photonics, fluid mechanics, motility, chemicalkinetics, enzyme kinetics, systems biology, nerves, physiology, thesenses, and the brain. The comprehensive coverage, featuring in-depth explanations ofrecent rapid developments, demonstrates this to be one of the mostdiverse of modern scientific disciplines. The Physics of Living Processes: A Mesoscopic Approach iscomprised of five principal sections: • Building Blocks • Soft Condensed Matter Techniques in Biology • Experimental Techniques • Systems Biology • Spikes, Brains and the Senses The unique focus is predominantly on the mesoscale —structures on length scales between those of atoms and themacroscopic behaviour of whole organisms. The connections betweenmolecules and their emergent biological phenomena provide a novelintegrated perspective on biological physics, making this animportant text across a variety of scientific disciplines includingbiophysics, physics, physical chemistry, chemical engineering andbioengineering. An extensive set of worked tutorial questions are included,which will equip the reader with a range of new physical tools toapproach problems in the life sciences from medicine,pharmaceutical science and agriculture.
A comprehensive guide to investment guarantees in equity-linkedlife insurance Due to the convergence of financial and insurance markets, newforms of investment guarantees are emerging which require financialservice professionals to become savvier in modeling and riskmanagement. With chapters that discuss stock return models, dynamichedging, risk measures, Markov Chain Monte Carlo estimation, andmuch more, this one-stop reference contains the valuable insightsand proven techniques that will allow readers to better understandthe theory and practice of investment guarantees and equity-linkedinsurance policies. Mary Hardy, PhD (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), is an AssociateProfessor and Associate Chair of Actuarial Science at theUniversity of Waterloo and is a Fellow of the Institute ofActuaries and an Associate of the Society of Actuaries, where sheis a frequent speaker. Her research covers topics in life insurancesolvency and risk management, with particular emphasis onequity-linked insurance. Hardy is an Associate Editor of the NorthAmerican Actuarial Journal and the ASTIN Bulletin and is a DeputyEditor of the British Actuarial Journal.

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