Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden (Author), Jim Al-Khalili (Author)


New York Times Bestseller and an Amazon Best Science Book of 2015

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?

Like Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, which provided a new perspective on how evolution works, Life on the Edge alters our understanding of our world’s fundamental dynamics. Bringing together first-hand experience at the cutting edge of science with unparalleled gifts of explanation, Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe Macfadden reveal that missing ingredient to be quantum mechanics; the phenomena that lie at the heart of this most mysterious of sciences.

Drawing on recent ground-breaking experiments around the world, each chapter in Life on the Edge engages by illustrating 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 communicate the excitement of 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.

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. He has written a number of popular science books, including Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science. He has presented several television and radio documentaries, including the BAFTA-nominated Chemistry: A Volatile History and The Secret Life of Chaos.


Johnjoe McFadden is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey and is the editor of several leading text books. For over a decade, he has specialized in examining tuberculosis and meningitis, inventing the first successful molecular test for the latter. He is the author of Quantum Evolution and co-editor of Human Nature: Fact and Fiction.

LOOK INSIDE

Quantum Biology – Johnjoe McFadden

Professor Johnjoe McFadden’s Presentation “Does Biology Need Quantum Mechanics?” at Imperial College London’s Festival of Science 2014

Johnjoe McFadden obtained his PhD at Imperial College London, then went on to work on human genetic diseases and infectious diseases at the University of Surrey. He has more recently specialised in examining the genetics of microbes such as the agents of tuberculosis and meningitis. Professor McFadden has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals on subjects as wide-ranging as bacterial genetics, tuberculosis, idiopathic diseases and computer modelling of evolution.

As well as contributing articles on a broad range of scientific topics to the Guardian newspaper, Johnjoe is the author of the highly regarded book Quantum Evolution. In this book he proposes a new model for the fundamental mechanisms of evolution, while presenting quantum mechanics in such a way as to be accessible to those without a background in Physics or Chemistry.

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