Heliophage


Review: The First Post
August 30, 2007, 6:40 am
Filed under: Reviews received

Kind short review on The First Post

Eating the Sun
By Oliver Morton

Oliver Morton’s fluent book fathoms the most unobserved but necessary of all Nature’s mechanisms – photosynthesis, the manufacture of life from light. The more you think about it, the more miraculous it seems: plants take sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and produce oxygen from them. So no plants, no planet. Morton does not just look at the biology and chemistry of photosynthesis, but at the men who discovered how it worked and how we need to manage the carbon cycle to survive in the world we have altered. The heroes of his story include Martin Kamen (who did key work on carbon), Robin Hill (biochemistry), Robert Emerson (light) and Jim Barber (bacteria); it was these men who, little by little, worked their way to the heart of photosynthesis. Morton is an exemplary science writer, characterised by lucidity and a strong linked narrative. Some of the book is testing to non-scientists, but stick with it: his conclusions are clarity itself.

Fourth Estate, £25
To buy this book

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