How We Live and Why We Die: the secret lives of cells

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Faber & Faber, Apr 2, 2009 - Science - 256 pages

How do we move, think and remember? Why do we get ill, age and die? Distinguished biologist Lewis Wolpert explains how cells provide the answers to the fundamental questions about our lives.

Cells are the basis of all life in the universe. Our bodies are made up of billions of them: an incredibly complex society that governs everything, from movement to memory and imagination. When we age, it is because our cells slow down; when we get ill, it is because our cells mutate or stop working.

In How We Live and Why We Die, Wolpert provides a clear explanation of the science that underpins our lives. He explains how our bodies function and how we derive from a single cell - the egg. He examines the science behind the topics that are much discussed but rarely understood - stem-cell research, cloning, DNA - and explains how all life evolved from just one cell. Lively and passionate, How We Live and Why We Die is an accessible guide to understanding the human body and, essentially, life itself.

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User Review  - dickmanikowski - LibraryThing

Clearly written but fairly detailed presentation of the structure, nature, functions, and mechanisms of the basic unit of life. The author also discusses the history scientific investigations that discovered the cell and theories about how life might have arisen. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dickmanikowski - LibraryThing

Detailed but readable account of cells as the fundamental unit of life. The author describes the chemical reactions the provide the mechanisms that govern the firth, death, and operations of these basic units of life. He also offers interesting theories regarding the origin of life. Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Lewis Wolpert is a distinguished developmental biologist and an accomplished broadcaster. He is Emeritus Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College, London, and has taken part in numerous radio programmes, particularly interviews with other scientists. A CBE and a Fellow of the Royal Society, he was chairman of the Committee on the Public Understanding of Science for four years.

He is the author of, among others, The Unnatural Nature of Science and Malignant Sadness, which was described by Anthony Storr as 'the most objective short account of all the various approaches to depression'. His most recent book, Six Impossible Things before Breakfast, was called 'a brilliant and persuasive search for the source of our need to believe' in the Sunday Times.

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