The Demon in the Machine

The Demon in the Machine How Hidden Webs of Information Are Solving the Mystery of Life - Penguin Science

Paperback (30 Jan 2020) | English

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Synopsis

'A gripping new drama in science ... if you want to understand how the concept of life is changing, read this' Professor Andrew Briggs, University of Oxford

When Darwin set out to explain the origin of species, he made no attempt to answer the deeper question: what is life?

For generations, scientists have struggled to make sense of this fundamental question. Life really does look like magic: even a humble bacterium accomplishes things so dazzling that no human engineer can match it. And yet, huge advances in molecular biology over the past few decades have served only to deepen the mystery. So can life be explained by known physics and chemistry, or do we need something fundamentally new?

In this penetrating and wide-ranging new analysis, world-renowned physicist and science communicator Paul Davies searches for answers in a field so new and fast-moving that it lacks a name, a domain where computing, chemistry, quantum physics and nanotechnology intersect. At the heart of these diverse fields, Davies explains, is the concept of information: a quantity with the power to unify biology with physics, transform technology and medicine, and even to illuminate the age-old question of whether we are alone in the universe.

From life's murky origins to the microscopic engines that run the cells of our bodies, The Demon in the Machine is a breath-taking journey across the landscape of physics, biology, logic and computing. Weaving together cancer and consciousness, two-headed worms and bird navigation, Davies reveals how biological organisms garner and process information to conjure order out of chaos, opening a window on the secret of life itself.

About the Publisher

Penguin Books

Penguin Books

The first ten paperback Penguin books appeared in 1935 costing 6d each (the price of a packet of cigarettes). Since then the Penguin list has developed enormously, but still aims to bring the best writing to the widest possible audience. Penguin Paperbacks now range from Booker Prize-winning contemporary authors, to mass market bestsellers, with successful history, biography and general non-fiction as well.

Book information

ISBN: 9780141986401
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Imprint: Penguin Books
Pub date:
DEWEY: 500
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Sales rank: 465
Number of pages: 250
Weight: 204g
Height: 194mm
Width: 107mm
Spine width: 16mm