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What is Life?

Paul Nurse

Unveil biology’s secrets and uncover what it means to be alive in this exciting, popular science book from Nobel Prize-winning Biologist Sir Paul Nurse. Read by the author.

Audio book
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Sir Paul Nurse is one of Britain’s greatest living scientists. Here he invites readers on a journey of discovery of biology’s five great building blocks including The Cell, The Gene, Evolution by Natural Selection, Life as Chemistry, Life as Information and then an inspiring piece on how we can change the world with this knowledge.
Accessible and easy to read, Paul’s engaging, personal tone will make readers light up with excitement as they learn how all living beings are connected.

‘A beautifully written exploration of perhaps the most important question in science.’ – Brian Cox
‘A nearly perfect guide to the wonder and complexity of existence.’ – Bill Bryson
‘Paul Nurse is about as distinguished a scientist as there could be. He is also a great communicator. This book explains, in a way that is both clear and elegant, how the processes of life unfold.’ – Philip Pullman
‘The writing is so spirited and knowledgeable – and the five sections so full of wondrous revelations – that I could not put it down.’ – Siddhartha Mukherjee
‘It’s the biggest question in biology. And this book represents the best answer I’ve ever seen. Paul Nurse is a rare life-form – a Nobel-winning scientist and a brilliant communicator.’ – Alice Roberts
‘Paul Nurse provides a concise, lucid response to an age-old question. His writing is not just informed by long experience, but also wise, visionary and personal.’ – Dava Sobel

Critic Reviews

One of the best scientists of his day.

Critic Reviews

Compassionate… highly approachable. People who have met [him] are bowled over by his enthusiasm and engaging charm.