'Eating the Sun' is the story of the discovery of a miracle: the source of life itself. From the intricacies of its molecular processes to the beauty of the nature that it supports, 'Eating the Sun' is a wondering tribute to the extraordinary process that has allowed plants to power the earth for billions of years. Photosynthesis is the most ...
'Eating the Sun' is the story of the discovery of a miracle: the source of life itself. From the intricacies of its molecular processes to the beauty of the nature that it supports, 'Eating the Sun' is a wondering tribute to the extraordinary process that has allowed plants to power the earth for billions of years. Photosynthesis is the most mundane of miracles. It surrounds us in our gardens and parks and countryside; even our cityscapes are shot through with trees. It makes nature green - the signature of the pigments with which plants harvest the sun; wherever nature offers us greenery, the molecular machinery of photosynthesis is making oxygen, energy and organic matter from the raw material of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. We rarely give the green machinery that brings about this transformation much thought, and few of us understand its beautifully honed mechanisms. But we are dimly aware that those photosynthetic mechanisms are the basis of our lives twice over: the ultimate source of all our food and the ultimate source of every breath we take. 'Eating the Sun' will foster and enrich that awareness. And by connecting aspects of photosynthesis that are vital to our lives, to the crucial role its molecular mechanisms have played through more than two billion years of the earth's history, 'Eating the Sun' will change the way the reader sees the world.
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-09-15 The cycle of photosynthesis is the cycle of life, says science journalist Morton (Mapping Mars). Green leaves trap sunlight and use it to absorb carbon dioxide from the air and emit life-giving oxygen in its place. Indeed, plants likely created Earth's life-friendly oxygen- and nitrogen-rich biosphere. In the first part, Morton, chief news and features editor of the leading science journal, Nature, traces scientists' quest to understand how photosynthesis works at the molecular level. In part two, Morton addresses evidence of how plants may have kick-started the complex life cycle on Earth. The book's final part considers photosynthesis in relation to global warming, for, he says, the Earth's plant-based balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen is broken: in burning vast amounts of fossil fuels, we are emitting more carbon dioxide than the plants can absorb. But Morton also explores the possibility that our understanding of photosynthesis might be harnessed to regain that balance. Readers should persevere through (or skim) the more technical discussions in the first part, for what follows is a vast, elegant synthesis of biology, physics and environmental science that can inform our discussions of urgent issues. (Nov. 4) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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