"In clear, jargon-free language, Dennis Bray taps the findings of the new discipline of systems biology to show that the interna...moreFrom B&N Synopsis:
"In clear, jargon-free language, Dennis Bray taps the findings of the new discipline of systems biology to show that the internal chemistry of living cells is a form of computation. Cells are built out of molecular circuits that perform logical operations, as electronic devices do, but with unique properties. Bray argues that the computational juice of cells provides the basis of all the distinctive properties of living systems: it allows organisms to embody in their internal structure an image of the world, and this accounts for their adaptability, responsiveness, and intelligence."
"Dennis Bray is professor emeritus, University of Cambridge, and coauthor of several bestselling and influential texts on molecular and cell biology. In 2007 he was awarded the prestigious European Science Prize in Computational Biology. He lives in Cambridge, UK."
Nearly finished reading, trying to keep my mind from entering Professor Bray's world without exploding, can't wait to finish my first read so I can start over. I call this one a nine-time read.(less)
Currently (08-May-2011) reading. I like this excerpt from Chapter 1:
"This brief foray into lexicography ought to remind us that many words, especially the most interesting ones, have multiple meanings that shift with the contexts of usage or the practices of specific linguistic communities. Every meaning of the term "science" discussed above is a convention accepted by a sizable group of people, who are unlikely to relinquish their favored usage without a fight. From which it follows that we have no choice but to accept a diverse set of meanings as legitimate and do our best to determine from the context of usage what the term "science" means on any specific occasion."(less)
As of Chapter 1, I find this not a book to simply read, rather one to study, with appreciative but critical attitude. If Goodreads has reviews, please...moreAs of Chapter 1, I find this not a book to simply read, rather one to study, with appreciative but critical attitude. If Goodreads has reviews, please advise.(less)
As of 31-Aug-2011, have only read, and need to re-read, Neal Stephenson's essay:
Stephenson N. (2010) Atoms of Cognition: Metaphysics in the Royal Society, 1715-2010. In: Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society. Edited & Introduced by Bill Bryson. Contributing editor Jon Turney. HarperCollins e-book. EPub Edition ISBN 9780062036223. ISBN 9780061999765. | Google Books preview/extracts. Stephenson essay: pp. 84-105.
Extract: "My theme is the legacy of Leibniz's metaphysics from the time of his death down to the present day, and so a direct summary of that system, based on the scholarship of latter-day researchers, will do better service than any attempt to untangle the points and counter-points in the correspondence. The account presented below is patterned after the work of Christia Mercer of Columbia University. Her book Leibniz's Metaphysics: Its Origins and Development, published in 2001 by Cambridge University Press, is a formidable work of forensic scholarship that can in no way be improved by my attempts to summarise it."
Extremely interesting how Stephenson draws parallels between Gottfried Leibniz's metaphysics and the physics of the 20th-21st centuries. Written with style, grace, clarity, coherence, and storytelling at its best. (less)