of books by Addy Pross

ADDY PROSS (1945) is professor of chemistry at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. His interest is in theoretical and physical organic chemistry particularly that of autocatalyctic reactions.

What is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology
by Addy Pross
  Oxford University Press, 2012

Addy Pross explains how biology is simply a continuum of chemistry, if you think of biology as a complex form of replicative chemistry. Stated as such, explanations of biological evolution and primordial origin of life are both subject to simple rules of Darwinian evolution with change, selection, complexificaton and replication (repeat). Pross has written a very powerful explanation of life as a process and chapter 8 should be essential reading for anyone interested in the question 'what is life?'

What is replicative chemistry? It is any chemical system that makes more of itself. It can be autocatalytic or be composed of complex feed back loops. It is characterized by being kinetically rather than thermodynamically stable (continuous replication with energy input), is dynamic and operates far from a chemical equilibrium. Chemical equilibrium is non-dynamic and a hall mark of (traditional) reactive chemistry. Pross coined the term dynamic kinetic stability or DKS to explain the long term endurance (stability) of replicative, and thus, living systems.

Read a short version of his arguments here.


July 14, 2015 /  © 2015 Lukas K. Buehler / go back to Book Review Home