Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable (Science Essentials)

Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable (Science Essentials) - Paul G. Falkowski The author is very good at explaining complex concepts in easy to understand ways. He starts by telling the listener that the nature of science advances by recognizing patterns and then developing tools for finding those patterns.

Microbes (and all life) contain nano-machines which get their energy from electrons or elements available from the environment and converts that into the universal currency of life, ATP, which every living organism on the planet possesses for its energy source (with maybe just minor exceptions). The author states that there are 1500 or so core genes which most of life share in fundamental ways. He'll step the listener through the steps necessary for creating an oxygen rich atmosphere on earth thus allowing for endosymbiosis (a very specific type of horizontal gene transference) which leads to the development of eukaryotic cells (cells with nucleus). (The author doesn't doesn't mention it, but it's possible that the subsuming of the mitochondria by an archaea was a one time only event and can be one of the large filters which helps explain the Fermi Paradox, the reason why we might be alone in the universe. See, microbes are incredibly interesting!).

Very rarely do I come across a popular science book where the author knows how to tell a story as clearly as this author did. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in understanding our place in the universe.