The Computational Basis of Life
One of the book’s major strengths is Bray’s overall unity of vision; another is the way he marshals a breathtaking diversity of ﬁelds to make his case... Whether cells think or not, there is no question that Wetware will get the reader thinking – Wallace F. Marshall, SCIENCE
Bray tackles the question [of how complex behaviour can arise in a simple life form] with remarkable clarity and style in this excellent book... highly recommended – Graham Lawton, NEW SCIENTIST
A provocative topic engaged in fine style by an author in full command of the relevant facts and history. This is a very interesting book – Dale Purves, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Department of Neurobiology, Duke University
Bray engages in a provocative debate about the computational capabilities of protein networks, while taking the reader on a delightful ramble across biology, from the antics of Stentor to the plasticity of synapses, with PacMan and robot salamanders along the way – Jeremy Gunawardena, Director, Virtual Cell Program, Harvard Medical School
Biology and information lie at the heart of a new scientific revolution. In this timely and illuminating volume, Bray passionately weaves a compelling case for a computational view of life – Martyn Amos, author of GENESIS MACHINES
A beautifully written journey into the mechanics of the world of the cell, and even beyond, exploring the analogy with computers in a surprising way. This book is full of new insights. Bray is master of his wetware – Denis Noble, author of THE MUSIC OF LIFE
How does a single-cell creature, such as an amoeba, lead such a sophisticated life? How does it hunt living prey, respond to lights, sounds, and smells, and display complex sequences of movements without the benefit of a nervous system? This book offers a startling and original answer.
In clear, jargon-free language, Dennis Bray taps the findings of the new discipline of systems biology to show that the internal chemistry of living cells is a form of computation. Cells are built out of molecular circuits that perform logical operations, as electronic devices do, but with unique properties. Bray argues that the computational juice of cells provides the basis of all the distinctive properties of living systems: it allows organisms to embody in their internal structure an image of the world, and this accounts for their adaptability, responsiveness and intelligence.
WETWARE offers imaginative, wide-ranging and perceptive critiques of robotics and complexity theory, as well as many entertaining and telling anecdotes. For the general reader, the practising scientist, and all others with an interest in the nature of life, the book is an exciting portal to some of biology’s latest discoveries and ideas.
Publisher: Yale University Press (UK/US)
Pub Date: 30 June 2009 (UK)/26 May 2009 (US)
Length: 267 pages
All rights available excluding:
World English Language (Yale), Japan (Hayakawa), Korea (East Asia)