Viva Origino Book Review


FUNDAMENTALS OF LIFE

(Gyula PÁLYI, Claudia ZUCCHI, Luciano CAGLIOTI, Editors) Elsevier Paris/Accademia
Nazionale di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti Modena, 2002, 648 pp.
ISBN:2-84299-303-9



     This book contains selected contributions of the Workshop on Life (September 3-8, 2000, Modena, Italy) together with some invited papers. The papers (48) are divided into 4 Sections. 122 Authors from 23 countries contributed to the book.
     The correspondence in the preparatory period of the Workshop brought an unexpected fruit: several interested colleagues sent us their own definition of Life. These short, sometimes very personal, pieces of intellectual excellence (81) are collected in Section One, Definitions of Life, as the first Chapter, followed by longer analyses of the same problem. After these papers, in Section Two, studies on the Origin(s) of Life are collected. It was sometimes difficult to classify the individual chapters of these first two topics, this difficulty gives already a strong indication of the deep interrelation between these fields.
     Section Three contains papers from the world of that Basic Research, which is providing theoretical tools, models and even fundamentally new biological approaches to questions discussed in the former two Sections.
     Section Four is dedicated to Moral, Religious and Philosophical aspects connected with Life.
     All papers were read by (at least) two independent Referees (including those, where the Editors are within the Authors). The Editors decided, for moral reasons, to ask the Referees for permission of publishing their names. All but six agreed.
     The spectrum of the topics and approaches in this collection of Fundamentals of Life is very broad, even it might appear too broad. The Editors are convinced, that the メlong-range interactionsモ in sciences, in general, and those established at the Workshop on Life in Modena, in particular, bring rich profits, be it in the sense of exchange of scientific knowledge, or, be it in the sense of cultural and/or spiritual enrichment through contacts with the outstanding personalities, who participated either personally, or by correspondence at the Workshop on Life. We invite full-heartedly the Readers to take part in this wonderful experience.
     For those, who wish more information about the Workshop on Life, we advice to visit the web site of the Workshop, where all Abstracts and a full list of the participants, the programme and other details are available: http://www.unimo.it/onlife
     FUNDAMENTALS OF LIFE is a bold attempt at gathering all basic knowledge of Humanity regarding the "Mother of all questions": the essence and origin of life. The Editors are aided by first-class prominence in realising these high-set goals, including Christian de Duve (NP Medicine/Biology, 1972), George A. Olah (NP Chemistry, 1994), Gustaf O. Arrhenius (Origins-of-Life Science, San Diego, CA, USA), Günther von Kiedrowski (Biochemistry, Bochum, Germany), Brian Johnstone (Moral Theology, Rome), Paul G. Mezey (Theoretical Chemistry, Saskatoon, Canada) or Julius Rebek, Jr., (Chemical Biology, La Jolla, CA,USA), Kenso Soai (Autocatalysis, Tokyo) as well as Kunio Kawamura (Japan view of Life, Osaka) [only to name a few] and several others, together with will-be prominences of the youngest generation as Robert Szilágyi (Stereochemistry, Stanford, CA, USA), Massimo Nardello (Theology, Modena) or Alec A. Schaerer (Philosophy, Zürich). The book will become a reference work for a very broad readership ranging from college students to highly specialised research scientists and even clergymen or philosophers.

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