Mayonnaise and the Origin of Life: Thoughts of Minds and Molecules

Mayonnaise and the Origin of Life: Thoughts of Minds and Molecules
by Harold J. Morowitz

Ox Bow Press
YA-P, GA *


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This is a delightful book of short essays by a biophysicist educated in the liberal tradition, widely read, well traveled, and concerned with the origin and future of life on earth. The title is the same as one of the essays and does not indicate the wide range of ideas explored here. The essays are personal musings about other scientists, from Boscox to Lipmann, and about diverse and sometimes unlikely subject such as guano on Nauru, garlic, homeopathy, medical school admissions, ESP, artifacts, how E. coli got its name, magnetic bacteria, and entropy. The author brings his experience as researcher, teacher, and student adviser to his reflections on these varied topics and writes with curiosity, understanding, skill, and humor. He even includes remarks on the scientific aspects of the work of literary figures such as Melville and Joyce. He is at his best when he brings his knowledge of physics and biology to bear in areas of current concern, such as the dispute between creation scientists and evolutionists. A wide audience--from the educated layperson to both the professional and amateur scientists and students--will enjoy reading this collection.

--Reviewed by Barbara Blair in Science Books and Films, 22/1 (September/November 1986), p. 48.