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Author : Alexander Graham Cairns-Smith
ISBN : 0521324084
Genre : Science
File Size : 83.91 MB
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This volume is the edited proceedings of a conference seeking to clarify the possible role of clays in the origin of life on Earth. At the heart of the problem of the origin of life lie fundamental questions such as: What kind of properties is a model of a primitive living system required to exhibit and what would its most plausible chemical and molecular makeup be? Answers to these questions have traditionally been sought in terms of properties that are held to be common to all contemporary organisms. However, there are a number of different ideas both on the nature and on the evolutionary priority of 'common vital properties', notably those based on protoplasmic, biochemical and genetic theories of life. This is therefore the first area for consideration in this volume and the contributors then examine to what extent the properties of clay match those required by the substance which acted as the template for life.
Leading researchers in the area of the origin and evolution of life in the universe contributed to Chemical Evolution: Physics of the Origin and Evolution of Life. This volume provides a review of this interdisciplinary field. In 35 chapters many aspects of the origin of life are discussed by 90 authors, with particular emphasis on the early paleontological record: physical, chemical, biological, and informational aspects of life's origin, instrumentation in exobiology and system exploration; the search for habitable planets and extraterrestrial intelligent radio signals. This book contains the proceedings of the Fourth Trieste Conference on Chemical Evolution that took place in September 1995, in which scientists from a wide geographical distribution joined in a Memorial to Cyril Ponnamperuma, who was a pioneer in the field of chemical evolution, the origin of life, and exobiology, and also initiated the Trieste Conferences on Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life. This fourth Conference was therefore dedicated to his memory. Audience: Graduate students and researchers in the many areas of basic, earth, and life sciences that contribute to the study of chemical evolution and the origin of life.
How did life begin on the early Earth? We know that life today is driven by the universal laws of chemistry and physics. By applying these laws over the past ?fty years, en- mous progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms that are the foundations of the living state. For instance, just a decade ago, the ?rst human genome was published, all three billion base pairs. Using X-ray diffraction data from crystals, we can see how an enzyme molecule or a photosynthetic reaction center steps through its catalytic function. We can even visualize a ribosome, central to all life, translate - netic information into a protein. And we are just beginning to understand how molecular interactions regulate thousands of simultaneous reactions that continuously occur even in the simplest forms of life. New words have appeared that give a sense of this wealth of knowledge: The genome, the proteome, the metabolome, the interactome. But we can’t be too smug. We must avoid the mistake of the physicist who, as the twentieth century began, stated con?dently that we knew all there was to know about physics, that science just needed to clean up a few dusty corners. Then came relativity, quantum theory, the Big Bang, and now dark matter, dark energy and string theory. Similarly in the life sciences, the more we learn, the better we understand how little we really know. There remains a vast landscape to explore, with great questions remaining.
The book provides insight into the working of clays and clay minerals in speeding up a variety of organic reactions. Clay minerals are known to have a large propensity for taking up organic molecules and can catalyse numerous organic reactions due to fine particle size, extensive surface area, layer structure, and peculiar charge characteristics. They can be used as heterogeneous catalysts and catalyst carriers of organic reactions because they are non-corrosive, easy to separate from the reaction mixture, and reusable. Clays and clay minerals have an advantage over other solid acids as they are abundant, inexpensive, and non-polluting.
Author : A. G. Cairns-Smith
ISBN : 0521398282
Genre : Science
File Size : 20.24 MB
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This book addresses the question of how life may have arisen on earth, in the spirit of an intriguing detective story. It relies on the methods of Sherlock Holmes, in particular his principle that one should use the most paradoxical features of a case to crack it. This approach to the essential biological problems is not merely light-hearted, but a fascinating scrutiny of some very fundamental questions. 'I know of no other book that succeeds as well as this one in maintaining the central question in focus throughout. It is a summary of the best evolutionary thinking as applied to the origins of life in which the important issues are addressed pertinently, economically and with a happy recourse to creative analogies.' Nature '... a splendid story - and a much more convincing one than the molecular biologists can offer as an alternative. Cairns-Smith has argued his case before in the technical scientific literature, here he sets it out in a way from which anyone - even those whose chemistry and biology stopped at sixteen - can learn.' New Statesman
Author : Joseph Seckbach
ISBN : 9781402025228
Genre : Technology & Engineering
File Size : 68.16 MB
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In this book forty eminent scientists examine the astrobiological origins of life and the emergence of biodiversity in extreme environments. The coverage includes extremophiles: microbes living in hostile conditions of high temperature, psychrophilic, UV radiation, and halophilic environments. Also discussed are the origin and history of Martian water, and the possible biogeochemistry inside Titan.
Author : Andrew Parker
ISBN : 3540587381
Genre : Science
File Size : 88.51 MB
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This companion volume to Velde's Origin and Mineralogy of Clays deals with the role of clays in specific environmental issues, and is unique in its subject matter. Individual chapters are written by recognized international experts in their field, and cover such subjects as radioactive waste disposal, trace metals, soil quality and productivity, pesticides, landfill, fibrous minerals and health. The approach combines reviews with current research, making it an invaluable resource for students, researchers and practitioners alike.
The first general texts on clay mineralogy and the practical applications of clay, written by R.E. Grim, were published some 40-50 years ago. Since then, a vast literature has accumulated but this information is scattered and not always accessible. The Handbook of Clay Science aims at assembling the scattered literature on the varied and diverse aspects that make up the discipline of clay science. The topics covered range from the fundamental structures (including textures) and properties of clays and clay minerals, through their environmental, health and industrial applications, to their analysis and characterization by modern instrumental techniques. Also included are the clay-microbe interaction, layered double hydroxides, zeolites, cement hydrates, genesis of clay minerals as well as the history and teaching of clay science. No modern book in the English language is available that is as comprehensive and wide-ranging in coverage as the Handbook of Clay Science. In providing a critical and up-to-date assessment of the accumulated information, this will serve as the first point of entry into the literature for both newcomers and graduate students, while for research scientists, university teachers, industrial chemists, and environmental engineers the book will become a standard reference text. * Presents contributions from 66 authors from 18 different countries who have come together to produce the most comprehensive modern handbook on clay science * Provides up-to-date concepts, properties, and reactivity of clays and clay minerals in a one-stop source of information * Covers classical and new environmental, industrial, and health applications of clays, as well as the instrumental techniques for clay mineral analysis * Combines geology, mineralogy, crystallography with physics, geotechnology, and soil mechanics together with inorganic, organic, physical, and colloid chemistry for a truly multidisciplinary approach
The first edition of the Handbook of Clay Science published in 2006 assembled the scattered literature on the varied and diverse aspects that make up the discipline of clay science. The topics covered range from the fundamental structures (including textures) and properties of clays and clay minerals, through their environmental, health and industrial applications, to their analysis and characterization by modern instrumental techniques. Also included are the clay-microbe interaction, layered double hydroxides, zeolites, cement hydrates, and genesis of clay minerals as well as the history and teaching of clay science. The 2e adds new information from the intervening 6 years and adds some important subjects to make this the most comprehensive and wide-ranging coverage of clay science in one source in the English language. Provides up-to-date, comprehensive information in a single source Covers applications of clays, as well as the instrumental analytical techniques Provides a truly multidisciplinary approach to clay science
Examines each of these parameters in crucial depth and makes the argument that life forms we would recognize may be more common in our solar system than many assume. Considers exotic forms of life that would not have to rely on carbon as the basic chemical element, solar energy as the main energy source, or water as the primary solvent and the question of detecting bio- and geosignatures of such life forms, ranging from earth environments to deep space. Seeks an operational definition of life and investigate the realm of possibilities that nature offers to realize this very special state of matter. Avoids scientific jargon wherever possible to make this intrinsically interdisciplinary subject understandable to a broad range of readers.