Cambridge University Press, 2008. — 501 p.This highly interdisciplinary book highlights many of the ways in which chemistry plays a crucial role in making life an evolutionary possibility in the universe. Cosmologists and particle physicists have often explored how the observed laws and constants of nature lie within a narrow range that allows complexity and life to evolve and adapt. Here, these anthropic considerations are diversiﬁed in a host of new ways to identify the most sensitive features of biochemistry and astrobiology. Celebrating the classic 1913 work of Lawrence J. Henderson, The Fitness of the Environment, this book looks at the delicate balance between chemistry and the ambient conditions in the universe that permit complex chemical networks and structures to exist. It will appeal to scientists, academics, and others working in a range of disciplines.Foreword: The improbability of life (by George M. Whitesides). The ﬁtness of ﬁtness: Henderson in context Locating ﬁtness and L. J. Henderson (by Everett Mendelsohn). Revisiting The Fitness of the Environment (by Owen Gingerich). Isﬁne-tuning remarkable? (by John F. Haught). Complexity in context: the metaphysical implications of evolutionary theory (by Edward T. Oakes). Tuning ﬁne-tuning (by Ernan McMullin). The ﬁtness of the cosmic environment Fitness and the cosmic environment (by Paul C. W. Davies). The interconnections between cosmology and life (by Mario Livio). Chemistry and sensitivity (by John D. Barrow). Fitness of the cosmos for the origin and evolution of life: from biochemical ﬁne-tuning to the Anthropic Principle (by Julian Chela-Flores). The ﬁtness of the terrestrial environment How biofriendly is the universe? (by Christian de Duve). Tuning into the frequencies of life: a roar of static or a precise signal? (by Simon Conway Morris). Life on earth: the role of proteins (by Jayanth R. Banavar and Amos Maritan). Protein-based life as an emergent property of matter: the nature and biological ﬁtness of the protein folds (by Michael J. Denton). Could an intelligent alien predict earth’s biochemistry? (by Stephen J. Freeland). Would Venus evolve on Mars? Bioenergetic constraints, allometric trends, and the evolution of life-history invariants (by Jeffrey P. Schloss). The ﬁtness of the chemical environment Creating a perspective for comparing (by Albert Eschenmoser). Fine-tuning and interstellar chemistry (by William Klemperer). Framing the question of ﬁne-tuning for intermediary metabolism (by Eric Smith and Harold J. Morowitz). Coarse-tuning in the origin of life? (by Guy Ourisson). Plausible lipid-like peptides: prebiotic molecular self-assembly in water (by Shuguang Zhang). Evolution revisited by inorganic chemists (by R. J. P. Williams and J. J. R. Frausto da Silva).
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