First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars,

First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars,



10 thoughts on “First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began

  1. Gendou Gendou says:

    This gets 5 stars because the author isn t afraid to give little chemistry lessons as needed throughout the book This fascinating topic is attacked on many fronts.Chirality is the handedness of molecules, and life on Earth uses only one type for fats, nucleic acids, and sugars This mystery is considered as a possible frozen accident, and as a clue to life s origin.Undersea vents and clays are discussed as a possible origin of the basic metabolism processes which are found in all Earth life.The This gets 5 stars because the author isn t afraid to give little chemistry lessons as needed throughout the book This fascinating topic is attacked on many fronts.Chirality is the handedness of molecules, and life on Earth uses only one type for fats, nucleic acids, and sugars This mystery is considered as a possible frozen accident, and as a clue to life s origin.Undersea vents and clays are discussed as a possible origin of the basic metabolism processes which are found in all Earth life.The author s main area of research is the study of how cell like bubbles form when certain lipids are mixed into some liquids This points to a possible origin for vacuoles and cells themselves.RNA is discussed as a likely predecessor to DNA.The origin of biological molecules in deep space and here on Earth are considered, as are the relative abundance of the atoms which compose living things Both lend credibility to abiogenesis


  2. Justin Tapp Justin Tapp says:

    I read Andreas Wagner s Arrival, John Tyler Bonner s Randomness in Evolution, and David Deamer s First Life Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began subsequently, so my review is meant to be read relative to the other two as all three overlap in subject matter This paragraph appears in all three reviews I am reading these books after reading several on cosmology I wanted to move beyond what cosmologists say with disagreement about the formation of the unive I read Andreas Wagner s Arrival, John Tyler Bonner s Randomness in Evolution, and David Deamer s First Life Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began subsequently, so my review is meant to be read relative to the other two as all three overlap in subject matter This paragraph appears in all three reviews I am reading these books after reading several on cosmology I wanted to move beyond what cosmologists say with disagreement about the formation of the universe to see how it could be compatible with what chemists and biologists say about the beginning of life Alan Lightman writes in the Accidental Universe that Science can never know how universe was created, and I find that to be echoed in these books science can never know or prove how exactly life began Deamer states this outright Exactly what chemicals were available on earth to mix in what quantities to randomly create a reaction between molecules that led bonds to form, information to be transmitted, and growth to begin All of the hypotheses presented in the books require certain laws of physics and nature to hold but I have not found any who attempts to explain how those laws arose in the first place Why are these laws what they are Call this the Paul Davies critique acknowledges that it s possible a creator put those laws into existence, but the other two avoid the subject None of the three seem to recognize that chance is not a causal force, so time chance cannot explain anything Where did light come from and how did it contain information How did cells know that it contained information and figure out a way to receive and decode it How do regulator cells operate according to these laws What is consciousness and at what point is life life such that it has value All three of the authors reach the same conclusion as the cosmologists above we are a random collection of atoms that will one day be scattered, nothingnothing less Life has no meaning outside of a debatable definition regarding complex molecular processes, and any sentiment we attach to it is illogical there is no soul in science I do not, therefore, understand how Lightman, Hawking, Richard Dawkins, etc can argue that scattering people s atoms is wrong, or where they get ethics We re not special, only lucky in the sense of randomness These three biochemist authors, however, engage in less armchair philosophy than Hawking et al, and unlike string theorists Hawking and Green argue that science requires testable hypotheses and that the universe had a beginning Each of these books have a good look at what actual laboratory research looks like These are not just men working equations at a desk all day, although there is some of that They re often out traveling the world in search of mineral samples and in the laboratory mixing chemicals in the search for the genesis of life My next set of books will be on the scientific understanding of consciousness something these books do not address is a biochemist astrobiologist whose primary research area concerns the manner in which linear macromolecules traverse nanoscopic channelsA second line of research concerns molecular self assembly processes related to the structure and function of biological membranes, and particularly the origin and evolution of membrane structure from his UCSC profile Astrobiology was fueled partly by NASA s discovery in 1996 that the Allan Hills asteroid from Mars contained fossils of bacteria like lifeforms Other meteorites having contained amino acids, suggesting that the basic building blocks of life could have arrived to earth from outer space some 4.35 4.7 billion years ago can biological life arise from non biological processes Can the right combination of chemicals, heat, electricity, etc generate reactions where molecules bond, feed off available food sources, reproduce themselves, and form complex structures that eventually develop into life That is the key question, and Deamer is betting on yes, without asking where these basic building blocks and the laws of physics that formed them came from He admits in the epilogue that the laws of the universe could have been put in place by a creator But the book does a great job showing what biochemists do If I knew someone who was thinking about majoring in chemistry or biology, I would give them this book Deamer travels the globe collecting samples, runs tests in labs, analyzes others discoveries, and hypothesizes what resources would be needed for the next breakthroughs in this field I found it thoroughly enjoyable as a layman who had only read other similar books see above There is much tedious chemistry in the book, with precise chains given That makes it a bit tough for the layreader, but I appreciated Deamer s thoroughness Emergence is the complexity that arises over time it cannot be predicted or explained Life is not a universally defined term, so in order to create artificial life you have to first have a definition they do have some agreement on what is required for life for Deamer this appears to be metabolic processes occuring in cells with polymers Life is based on six elements Deamer states outright that science can never prove how life began since it would be impossible to know or simulate the exact conditions that occurred on earth We re only now learning what materials were available, and multiple hypotheses abound One criticism Deamer has of modern research is that too much emphasis is put on isolated experiments using very few chemicals in highly controlled environments, something that definitely would not have been earth 4 billion years ago But Deamer fails to addressserious criticisms of chemical evolution, even from biologists like Bonner who argue that short shrift is given to randomness See the list on Discovery.org of the Top Ten Scientific Problems iwth biological and Chemical Evolution.The accepted age for the universe is 13.7 billion years ago, which means we are just now seeing stars reach the end of their life and go supernova Our solar system is about 13.2 billion years old, and planet earth is supposedly 4.5 billion years old Samples of zircon have tested older than 4.4 billion years old, with some debated tests intpreted to show that there was already water on the earth at that time It s at around 4.35 billion years that the environmental conditions necessary for life to begin are believed to have first existed, but life can t be older than 3.8 billion years and is improbable before 3.5 billion years ago according to Deamer, which is the age of the earliest fossils It s possible that life existed prior to that time but a late bombardment period of asteroids about 4 billion years ago could have killed whatever life had existed, and changed the mix of chemicals and conditions present 10% of the water in oceans is believed to come from asteroids, which could also have brought cosmic space dust containing amino acids and other building block like materials along with comets that brought organic carbon in some amount Deamer writes that Miller s experiments in 1953 found that amino acids themselves can be synthesized by non biological processes, while also noting the conditions they used likely did not occur on earth at the time Was the site of origin hot or icy Deamer examines hypotheses for both, along with various hypotheses that have been disproven or still hold up over years of experimenting, like the Schauzer hypothesis about arsenic Deamer often invokes Occam s razor, the simplest solution is assumed to be the likely one, and often times that solution is chance Evolution had to occur before life molecules had to develop in such a way to bond better and reproduce Hydrogen bonding is fundamental to life, but how did this happen spontaneously What energy is needed to cause chemical compounds to change over time Deamer writes that opposite of the law of entropy, chemical reactions always move from disequilibrium to equilibrium This gets back to the Bonner book on randomness in evolution chance interactions and mutations occur, and no one stops to ask how all of these building blocks came to exist in the first place One breakthrough for Deamer was the discovery that long chemical chains were not required for stable membranes Life on the early earth was less tidy than a sterilized laboratory, so there had to be some way for chemicals to mix relatively protected He presents the Bubble Model that membranes could have formed protective boundaries in which chemicals could mix, the same function test tubes perform today There is a helpful summary of multiple variations on the bubble theory in a 1993 NY Times piece by John Wilford These are only guesses according to Deamer complex chains were formed, which begs the question of the minimum complexity needed to call it life There are plenty of unanswered questions, the joy of science Deamer explains the importance of the double helix and how it was hypothesized never proven, but it fits in models well The double helix is the only known way for a molecule to transmit a copy of itself The author addresses several hypotheses regarding RNA and an RNA World, which seems too complex to have been the first catalyst for life, it needs help From here, Deamer delvesinto biology Darwin and others have proposed various trees of evolution, which have now grown so complex as to be only readily organized by a computer One important discovery in biology has been that of horizontal gene transfer HGT , where a gene can be transmitted across organisms and not just vertically through offspring This is an important factor in evolution and has led to a variety of experiments in genetic engineering to fight cancer and other diseases Deamer cites a 1993 experiment involving RNA, random mutation, and natural selection that I have tried to read but not completely understand its implications Chapter 14 rounds the book out with summaries on life all life is celluloid Polymers are primary, and must exist before life RNA does not have enough explanatory power,prebiotic experiments are needed, etc He proposes and calculates the cost for a simulator and dedicated laboratory to running the types of experiments he thinks are really necessary for breakthroughs within 5 years It seems relatively inexpensive compared to what we spend on everything else, perhaps someone in Silicon Valley would fund it Deamer believes that scientists will be able to fabricate artificial cells in the next decade The epilogue focuses on the intelligent design movement, stating his priors up front Anthropology explains religion as evolving from the tribes relying on shared religious beliefs to have unity and survive He does talk of the flawed and illogical nature of Behe s irreducible complexity argument but does not explain how it s illogical for the reader He does somewhat address the improbable nature of the cosmic soup hypotheses and writes that the soap bubble theory of membraneous compartments increase the likelihood of the viability of chemical reactions He cites a study that 36% of scientists believe in God and over half are spiritual Deamer actually agrees that the laws of nature and the universe could have been put in place by a creator But notes that disagreements among biologists related to evolution are the mechanisms relating to how, not whether I learned a great deal from this book and would love to read a critique of it I would recommend it to anyone interested in chemical biology It s a bit difficult to get through if you re not 4 stars out of 5


  3. Morgan Blackledge Morgan Blackledge says:

    Nothing is alive, or rather no thing is alive Life what ever that is can only happen as an emergent property of really complex systems in really special conditions Life is not a thing, its a process a special domain of chemistry, which is its self a special domain of physics People have a pretty good handle on how the universe emerged from nothing see A Universe From Nothing Why there is something rather than nothing by Lawrence M Krauss And people have a pretty good handle on how Nothing is alive, or rather no thing is alive Life what ever that is can only happen as an emergent property of really complex systems in really special conditions Life is not a thing, its a process a special domain of chemistry, which is its self a special domain of physics People have a pretty good handle on how the universe emerged from nothing see A Universe From Nothing Why there is something rather than nothing by Lawrence M Krauss And people have a pretty good handle on how complex life ratchets up from simpler life forms see Darwin But people don t quite know how exactly so called organic life emerged from inorganic stuff It s like a razor thin barrier of scientific knowledge that, when pierced, will connect these two immense territories of human knowledge inorganica and organica This book describes what we currently know or rather the competing theories about how life began, from the bottom up perspective of organic chemistry This was a game changing read for me I am coming at evolutionary theory and cell biology from a background in psychology and an interest in neuroscience The approach to understanding evolutionary theory that I m most familiar with begins with a curiosity about human behavior including mentation, affect and and social behavior , andor less attempts to understand brain body function down to the molecular level , in an evolutionary context, in order to try to explain, predict and manipulate future animal and human behavior hopefully for the better When you re working backwards through evolutionary theory, somewhere at the bottom of the pickle barrel is the vague question what exactly is life and how did it all begin The answers is equally vague, life has something to do with reproduction and metabolism, and it began in a warm swamp full of chemicals and lightning struck it, and protoplasm happened, and a long time later, living things got interesting i.e multicellular and then you get people This book exploded my former assumptions that the origins of life is a thoroughly understood, simple matter, and that we re on the verge of being able to synthesize cellular organisms from scratch BTW it isn t and were not Even prokaryotic non nucleic organisms are so stinking complex that it literally staggers the imagination, particularly when contemplating what it will take to build one of these suckers from scratch We may be able to bioengineer some cool shit by manipulating living cells see Ventor s amazing work but that s really different than creating a living cell from chemicals and sparks The fact that there is self assembling life at all is a freaking miracle Words can t express the awe I feel as I write this Forget about the fact that the human brain has circa 100 billion, networked, communicating and conditionable cells that can share information with billions of other brains That fact even prokaryotic organisms exist is absolutely nuking my brain after reading this book I call that a good investment of time and money 16.00 on kindle


  4. Gary Beauregard Bottomley Gary Beauregard Bottomley says:

    The book isof a text book than a popular science book The author is very good at stating what he s going to tell you, than tells you, and than summarize what he just told you.I understand chemistry even less than I understand bio chemistry and the book uses both extensively He ll explain the terms and often I wouldn t understand any of the technical words for whole pages minutes at a time, but I would always understand what his point was.The book is not for the faint of heart and is by The book isof a text book than a popular science book The author is very good at stating what he s going to tell you, than tells you, and than summarize what he just told you.I understand chemistry even less than I understand bio chemistry and the book uses both extensively He ll explain the terms and often I wouldn t understand any of the technical words for whole pages minutes at a time, but I would always understand what his point was.The book is not for the faint of heart and is by far the most difficult book I have ever listen to because of its complexity After having listen to it, I really have an understanding of how the universe could have become self aware.The reader does an excellent job of reading the book in a dry manner as if it were a text book I have a feeling that the book could be used in a graduate course on the origins of life in a bio chem or biology graduate course.The book is definitely worth risking a credit on, but beware it is a difficult listen


  5. Charlene Charlene says:

    Deamer provides one of the most comprehensive and easy to understand biochemistry lessons offered in pop sci today His work on the possible origins of biotic life is captivating and exciting We are getting closer than ever to understanding how cells first emerged Deamer puts forth an ingenious study design Since then, scientists such as Nick Lane and others have worked on the same problems and come up with surprising results If you are not up to learning some lingo, this book is not for you Deamer provides one of the most comprehensive and easy to understand biochemistry lessons offered in pop sci today His work on the possible origins of biotic life is captivating and exciting We are getting closer than ever to understanding how cells first emerged Deamer puts forth an ingenious study design Since then, scientists such as Nick Lane and others have worked on the same problems and come up with surprising results If you are not up to learning some lingo, this book is not for you However, if you want a complete and up to date understanding of the most plausible scenarios of our origins, this book is outstanding Deamer s love for his subject is very clear and infectious A wonderful read


  6. singingdalong singingdalong says:

    When many people spend their lives dreaming of billionaires, scientists devote their lives to obtaining treasures called discovery When many people find pleasure in little wealth, scientists have unlimited pleasure of asking questions and finding answers This book contains the fruit of a scientist s sincere will and willingness to share the joy with everyone And this book calmly confesses the knowledge and limitations of human science of the origin of life It is a book that deserves to be When many people spend their lives dreaming of billionaires, scientists devote their lives to obtaining treasures called discovery When many people find pleasure in little wealth, scientists have unlimited pleasure of asking questions and finding answers This book contains the fruit of a scientist s sincere will and willingness to share the joy with everyone And this book calmly confesses the knowledge and limitations of human science of the origin of life It is a book that deserves to be a milestone and a reliable companion in the long journey of unquestioned journeys in search of the origin of life.https singingdalong.blogspot.com 20


  7. Mike Lisanke Mike Lisanke says:

    Truly great read If you


  8. John Jaksich John Jaksich says:

    A very good book covering Life s origins.The book by professor Deamer is excellent but dated I chose to give the book 4 stars instead of 5 for that simple reason dated Getting that out of the way, it is well written and a pleasant read I can on y wish I had his facility of expression and depth of knowledge An excellent read.


  9. Luai Alrantisi Luai Alrantisi says:

    Excellent book.


  10. Nilesh Nilesh says:

    First Life addresses the highly esoteric subject of the ways in which the first life creating molecules, monomers, polymers and substances may have come into being The science here is highly incomplete, and as a result many of the theories are unproven and speculative The author is biased towards his own theories, which is not a problem, except that it ends up making a large part of the bookdetailed and complicated than necessary for all but the experts.Most readers like the reviewer may First Life addresses the highly esoteric subject of the ways in which the first life creating molecules, monomers, polymers and substances may have come into being The science here is highly incomplete, and as a result many of the theories are unproven and speculative The author is biased towards his own theories, which is not a problem, except that it ends up making a large part of the bookdetailed and complicated than necessary for all but the experts.Most readers like the reviewer may never have appreciated the complexities required in the creation of the ingredients of life forms The author does a commendable job in explaining how involved the processes must have been for the most elementary proteins, amino acids, enzymes or lipids let alone the polymers who replicate and mutate themselves, absorb nutrients, store information and work with other ingredients to form the whole to come in to existence in the early earth environment.From the need of the cell walls or membranes that isolate a cell from the outside world while still permitting enough nutrients for sustenance to complex atomic combinations required for the creation of the simplest forms of life molecules, the author s effort seems to indicate that life is farcomplex in its elementary forms than lets say chemical elements or galaxies Or so it appears once one reads the book The question that many readers may repeatedly ask is whether the book subconsciously tries to prove the process to be farcomplex simply with the focus on the elaboration of every tiny details The author does repeatedly repose the faith on natural evolution away from the intelligent design hence the purpose is not to refute evolution The main purpose is to bunk many other theories in detail while propounding his own which ends up making the discussions farcomplex than necessary for the lay readers many of the times The elaborations and details, like in any science, are critical except possibly only for the experts.Despite the weaknesses, The book provides a good description of where the science and scientific tests are in the creation of some of these substances in artificial environment, in their theories on the early earth atmosphere as well as the conjectures on how it all might have started


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began ➵ [Reading] ➷ First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began By David Deamer ➪ – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk This pathbreaking book explores how life can begin, taking us from cosmic clouds of stardust, to volcanoes on Earth, to the modern chemistry laboratory Seeking to understand life s connection to the s This pathbreaking book explores Discovering the MOBI ò how life can begin, taking us from cosmic clouds of stardust, to volcanoes on Earth, to the modern chemistry laboratory Seeking to understand life s connection to the stars, David Deamer introduces astrobiology, a new scientific discipline that studies First Life: Epub / the origin and evolution of life on Earth and relates it to the birth and death of stars, planet formation, interfaces between minerals, water, and atmosphere, and the physics and chemistry of carbon compounds Deamer argues that life began as systems of molecules that Life: Discovering the ePUB ´ assembled into membrane bound packages These in turn provided an essential compartment in which complex molecules assumed new functions required for the origin of life and the beginning of evolution Deamer takes us from the vivid and unpromising chaos of the Earth four billion years ago up to the present and his own laboratory, where he contemplates the prospects for generating synthetic life Engaging and accessible, First Life describes the scientific story of astrobiology while presenting a fascinating hypothesis to explain the origin of life.