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A glimpse of Life's Ratchet

Life's Ratchet

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Peter M. Hoffmann's Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos (Basic Books, 2012). The preview consists of the greater part of chapter 8, "The Watch and the Ribosome," in which Hoffman asks, "How do molecules evolve?" and replies, "Despite the histrionic debates in various American school boards, the mechanism of evolution is ... quite obvious when contemplated with an open mind." Hoffman addresses "irreducible complexity" and "the information challenge" in passing later in the chapter.

The reviewer for Nature commented, "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." 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.