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Life’s Edge


Carl Zimmer
Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

Carl Zimmer is the author of  fourteen books about science. His latest book is Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive. Zimmer’s column Matter appears each week in the New York Times. His writing has earned a number of awards, including the Stephen Jay Gould Prize, awarded by the Society for the Study of Evolution. His book, She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, won the 2019 National Academies Communication Award. The Guardian named it the best science book of 2018. Zimmer is a familiar voice on radio programs such as Radiolab and professor adjunct at Yale University. He is, to his knowledge, the only writer after whom a species of tapeworm has been named.

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We all assume we know what life is, but the more scientists learn about the living world—from protocells to brains, from zygotes to pandemic viruses—the harder they find it is to locate life’s edge. 

In his new book, Life’s Edge, Carl Zimmer investigates one of the biggest questions of all: What is life? The answer seems obvious until you try to seriously answer it. Is the apple sitting on your kitchen counter alive, or is only the apple tree it came from deserving of the word? If we can’t answer that question here on earth, how will we know when and if we discover alien life on other worlds? Life's Edge is an utterly fascinating investigation that no one but one of the most celebrated science writers of our generation could craft. 

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