Heliophage


Review: The New Yorker
January 2, 2009, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Reviews received

A capsule review in this week’s issue, after the piece on the Joy of Sex:

Photosynthesis doesn’t sound sexy, but Morton, a science journalist and the author of the book “Mapping Mars,” has produced an account of it that fuses science with the history of science to convey its enormous, if nearly invisible, grandeur. Beginning with a painstaking explanation of how rubisco, probably the earth’s most common protein, “knits” carbon dioxide into the living tissues of vegetation, the book ranges widely. Its final section takes the reader from the eighteenth-century dissenting preacher and scientific tinkerer Joseph Priestley’s first inkling of the different gases making up the air to the vastly increased carbon emissions of today, and is particularly worthwhile. Morton shows how the content of “air” is the basis for everything we take for granted, and provides both a sense of awe and an extremely useful way to think about global energy concerns and the climate crisis.

What a delightful way to start the year…

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