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Nature Fast and Nature Slow: How Life Works, from Fractions of a Second to Billions of Years (Hardcover)


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This book is a vision of biology set within the entire timescale of the universe. It is about the timing of life, from microsecond movements to evolutionary changes over millions of years. Human consciousness is riveted to seconds, but a split-second time delay in perception means that we are unaware of anything until it has already happened. We live in the very recent past. Over longer timescales, this book examines the lifespans of the oldest organisms, prospects for human life extension, the evolution of whales and turtles, and the explosive beginning of life four billion years ago.

With its poetry, social commentary, and humor, this book will appeal to everyone interested in the natural world.

About the Author

Nicholas P. Money is professor of botany and the Western Program Director at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is the author of many books on science, including Mr. Bloomfield’s Orchard, The Amoeba in the Room, and The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization.

Praise For…

“Various studies are showing how this pandemic, so disruptive of our usual lives and leaving so many of us locked down, languishing, and anxious, has had some peculiar impacts on our perceptions of time. And so with time on our minds it was with pricked-up ears that one listened to ABC Radio National Science Friction interview with brilliant and lyrical biologist Money. His new book is Nature Fast Nature Slow: How Life Works from Fractions of a Second to Billions of Years, and this week's column is written under the influence of Money's meditations on the expansiveness and weirdness of time. Strikingly, unforgettably, Money invites us to measure our lifespans in seconds.”
— Ian Warden

Nature Fast and Nature Slow seems more like a reflection on a lifespan than an argument; it is learned, wistful, and literate, assembling everything the author has learned in long research in mycology and voluminous reading in everything else, including John Milton. It reads almost like a valedictory to a career, though one hopes this impression is wrong, and there will be many more books ahead from Money.”
— lection

"This is a lovely concept, a cosmic zoom of biology, where the zoom is not in space but in time. Each chapter looks at biological actions that occur in a particular timeframe, starting with those that occur in a fraction of a second and running up to billions of years."
— popularscience.co.uk

“I thought that this was a really clever way of looking at life on this planet. Taking each chapter as a step up in time gave me a great insight into the way that the natural world works and highlights the fact that we may feel we live a long time, but we are a mere snapshot compared to other lifeforms. . . . A very readable science book on life and its rich and varied time. . . . Well worth reading.”
— Halfman, Halfbook

"After reading Money’s deeply fascinating book, I realized I was looking at the world around me in a completely different way. It takes the reader on a journey that starts with a fraction of a second and ends with a billion years, in a book about the passage of time that is different from any other I have ever read."
— Torbjørn Ekelund, author of "In Praise of Paths: Walking Through Time and Nature"
Product Details
ISBN: 9781789144048
ISBN-10: 1789144043
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publication Date: May 19th, 2021
Pages: 224