A science journalist “focuses on the chemical research. . . . into life’s origins. . . . A fascinating and challenging story, leavened with mini-biographies” (Tim Flannery, New York Review of Books).
From the primordial soup to meteorite impact zones, the Manhattan Project to the latest research, this book is the first full history of the scientists who strive to explain the genesis of life.
How did life begin? Why are we here? These are some of the most profound questions we can ask.
For almost a century, a small band of eccentric scientists has struggled to answer these questions and explain one of the greatest mysteries of all: how and why life began on Earth. There are many different proposals, and each idea has attracted passionate believers who promote it with an almost religious fervor, as well as detractors who reject it with equal passion.
But the quest to unravel life’s genesis is not just a story of big ideas. It is also a compelling human story, rich in personalities, conflicts, and surprising twists and turns. Along the way, the journey takes in some of the greatest discoveries in modern biology, from evolution and cells to DNA and life’s family tree. It is also a search whose end may finally be in sight.
In The Genesis Quest, Michael Marshall shows how the quest to understand life’s beginning is also a journey to discover the true nature of life, and by extension our place in the universe.
“As lively in its telling as its subject is thought-provoking.” —The Well-read Naturalist
“An historical review of the search for the origin of life . . . . an approachable introduction . . . and also offers an interesting window on the lives of the scientists involved. Recommended.” —Choice