As a human, I have always been fascinated by the interconnectedness of life on Earth. So when I picked up The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas, I knew I was in for a treat.
It won the National Book Award with its collection of essays that explore the connections between various fields of study, from poetry to computing to death and insects, all through the lens of biology.
One of the things that struck me the most about this book was Thomas’ ability to convey complex scientific concepts in a way that is both accessible and engaging. He uses personal anecdotes and references to literature and other disciplines to illustrate his points, making the book not just informative, but also entertaining.
In The Youngest Science, Thomas uses the example of a butterfly’s metamorphosis to explain how science is always evolving and how new discoveries often lead to new questions.
I really loved his compelling emphasis on the social nature of living things. He writes:
“Once you have become permanently startled, as I am, by the realization that we are a social species, you tend to keep an eye out for the pieces of evidence that this is, by and large, good for us.”
This idea of interconnectedness is not only true for humans, but also for all living organisms and it’s a central idea of Gaia Theory.
Overall, The Lives of a Cell is a thought-provoking and enlightening read that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the connections between different fields of study and the beauty of the natural world. It’s a book that made me see the world in a different way and I believe it will do the same for anyone who reads it.