Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute

Popular-Science Book

Steps Towards Life

This fascinating work, co-authored by a Nobel Prize winning scientist, extends Darwin's ideas on natural selection back into evolutionary time and applies them to the molecular "fossil record" that preceded the origin of life. Using the techniques of molecular biology, the book demonstrates that life on Earth is the inevitable result of certain chance events that took place in the unique history of our planet. Further, we can not only precisely formulate the laws governing the emergence of life, but we can test them under controlled laboratory conditions. In fact, the authors show how it is perfectly possible to construct evolutionary accelerators--machines which optimize the conditions for certain events and which can be used to demonstrate their theoretical conclusions in laboratory experiments.

M. Eigen & R. Winkler-Oswatitsch

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