The Mysteries of the Living Cell
It was Albert Einstein who once claimed that, "It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive, and try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in nature." Nearly 60 years later an editor of Scientific American September magazine conferred with him by writing, "It will be a marvelous challenge to see if we can out-design evolution. It would be a staggering accomplishment to mimic the simplest living cell." And it was Josie Glausiusz who even later wrote, "I find that the opportunity to uncover some of the mysteries of human biology is also an opportunity to worship." These three great minds all desired to solve the mystery on the origin and evolution of life. Now, I will tackle these great mysterious questions by asking and answering questions such as, did chemical reactions among randomly distributed molecules in the earth's primordial ocean produce the first living cells? The answer is absolutely not, and certainly not by themselves. I am a cytonaut. I study the origin of cellular and precellular life. Join me on my journey through the creation and evolution of the miniscule cytoworld. I will retrace the four-billion-year history of life on Earth, from the first biomolecules to the human mind and beyond. I'll take you through seven successive "ages," corresponding to seven levels of complexity: The Age of Prechemistry; The Age of Chemistry; The Age of Information; The Age of the Protocell; The Age of the Single Cell; The Age of Multicellular Organisms; The Age of the Mind; The Age of the Unknown, which includes the future and the timeless. I will take you on a journey to meet the greatest intelligence discovered in the universe.