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Life's Ratchet
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About the Author

Peter M. Hoffmann is a professor of physics and materials science at Wayne State University in Michigan and the founder and director of the university's Biomedical Physics program. He lives in Saint Clair Shores, Michigan.

Reviews

Physics Today "[A] fascinating glimpse into recent research on molecular machines, research that lies at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and physics... Life's Ratchet does an excellent job of conveying the tension between mechanical descriptions of molecular machines...and the chemical perspective... I highly recommend this book to scientists in the fields of biophysics and nanoscience as a readable introduction to a broad variety of topics in those areas." The Scientist "What distinguishes life from its nonliving ingredients? How could life arise from the lifeless? These questions have vexed philosophers sand scientists for more than 2,500 years. Bio-besotted physicist Peter Hoffmann wrote Life's Ratchet to get to the beating heart of the matter. After a lively, lucid grand tour of the controversy's history...Hoffmann arrives at modern molecular biology and the technological breakthroughs, such as atomic force microscopy, that enable us to see the very atoms of a cell... A masterwork of making the complex comprehensible, this book would make a smashing freshman biology textbook--and that's a compliment." City Book Review "Life's Ratchet is nothing short of brilliant. With wit and literary prowess, author Peter M. Hoffmann delivers a profound message about the nature of the life within our lives. He writes with a grace and careful thoughtfulness--the Shakespeare of scientific literacy." Physics World, Best Books of 2012 "[A] clearly written book about molecular motors and other nanoscale structures... It does a very good job of capturing the excitement driving current research on this increasingly important topic." Nature "Life's Ratchet engagingly tells the story of how science has begun to realize the potential for matter to spontaneously construct complex processes, such as those inherent to living systems. The book is a good mix of history and the latest concepts, straightforwardly explained... The book's important message is that there is a revolution brewing. This revolution will not tell us what matter is made of. Instead, as described in Life's Ratchet, it will tell us how matter and energy combine to make me and you." New Scientist "In Life's Ratchet, biophysicist Peter Hoffmann reveals that the secret to life isn't some mysterious force. Rather, it is chaos itself. Hoffmann provides a ringside perspective on life at its most fundamental level, gained through his work on imaging and manipulating molecules." Kirkus Reviews, starred review "A fascinating mix of cutting-edge science with philosophy and theology." Werner R. Loewenstein, author of The Touchstone of Life and Physics in Mind "Peter Hoffmann brings the universe of the very small to life. Life's Ratchet is an exciting guide to the wondrous strange nanoworld of molecules driving the machinery of life. Engaging, provocative, and profound."

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