He holds joint British and Irish Nationality. For more than a decade, McFadden has researched the genetics of microbes such as the agents of tuberculosis and meningitis and invented a test for the diagnosis of meningitis. He has published more than articles in scientific journals on subjects as wide-ranging as bacterial genetics, tuberculosis, idiopathic diseases and computer modelling of evolution. He has contributed to more than a dozen books and has edited a book on the genetics of mycobacteria.
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Quantum Evolution: Life in the Multiverse The hairiest heresy of evolutionary biology, the one most likely to get scientists figuratively burned at the stake, is the notion that any force more selective than blind chance could drive mutation. Directed at a general but somewhat sophisticated readership, the book covers the basics of both standard evolutionary theory and quantum-level physics, then synthesizes them in an interesting theory of made-to-order mutation that explains enough to warrant attention and is, importantly, testable.
This is no airplane book—except for those already well-versed in the latest in both evolutionary theory and subatomic physics. The rewards of reading are great, and the author bows just enough to established theory that he might meet the fate of his intellectual predecessors.
Traversing all the great thinkers who laid the foundations of biology, genetics, physics, chemistry and mechanics, the first half is written for those with very little or no knowledge of science.
The transitions between even widely disparate topics are flawless and build a coherent picture of the complexity of even the simplest organisms.
Layers of understanding about the unfathomable peculiarities of fundamental particles lead to amazing possibilities. McFadden voices a new theory that is gaining popularity: that quantum mechanical forces may have sparked life in the primordial soup, may create the difference between alive and inanimate objects and may even play a role in consciousness. Forecast: Operating at two levels, this title may be a hard sell.
Enthusiastic readers may be found, however, among those once immersed in science but who have been away from it for a long time; they will be able to use the beginning as a refresher course and will then be prepared for the main thesis.
But reaching them in particular will be a challenge for booksellers. Author s.
Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology