Nick Lane

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Books

Agent: Caroline Dawnay
Associate : Sophie Scard

Books

Nick Lane has published five critically acclaimed books, translated into 20 languages; most recently The Vital Question. He was awarded the 2015 Biochemical Society Award for his outstanding contribution to the molecular life sciences. Life Ascending won the 2010 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Nick is a biochemist in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London.

'Like his forebears in that same department - Steve Jones, JBS Haldane - he's that rare species, a scientist who can illuminate the bewildering complexities of biology with clear, luminous words' (Observer)

'One of the most exciting science writers of our time' (Independent)

Latest publication:

THE VITAL QUESTION, Profile, 2015
Why is life the way it is? Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth-and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death. If life evolved on other planets, would it be the same or completely different?In The Vital Question, Nick Lane radically reframes evolutionary history, putting forward a cogent solution to conundrums that have troubled scientists for decades. The answer, he argues, lies in energy: how all life on Earth lives off a voltage with the strength of a bolt of lightning. In unravelling these scientific enigmas, making sense of life's quirks, Lane's explanation provides a solution to life's vital questions: why are we as we are, and why are we here at all?This is ground-breaking science in an accessible form, in the tradition of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.

 

An amazing inquiry into the origins of life. I loved it. - Bill Gates

He is an original researcher and thinker and a passionate and stylish populariser. His theories are ingenious, breathtaking in scope, and challenging in every sense ... intellectually what Lane is proposing, if correct, will be as important as the Copernican revolution and perhaps, in some ways, even more so. - Peter Forbes, Guardian

Nick Lane...is emerging as one of the most imaginative thinkers about the evolution of life on Earth...a scintillating synthesis of a new theory of life - Clive Cookson, Financial Times

One of the deepest, most illuminating books about the history of life to have been published in recent years. - The Economist

One of the pleasures of good science writing is that it can awaken, or feed, this kind of curiosity and engagement in the reader, expanding his or her horizons in ways not previously imagined. And, for those willing to make the effort with a sometimes demanding but always clear text, Nick Lane's new book succeeds brilliantly ... I cannot recommend The Vital Question too highly. Lane's vivid descriptions and powerful reasoning will amaze and grip the reader - Caspar Henderson, Sunday Telegraph

"Original and awe-inspiring... an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology." Michael Le Page

"Original and awe-inspiring... an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology." Michael Le Page

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2009

Profile

Winner of the 2010 Royal Society Prize for science books. Nick Lane describes the ten greatest inventions of life, based on their historical impact, role in living organisms today and relevance to current controversies.

2009

Oxford University Press

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize and the THES Young Academic Author of the Year. An Economist Book of the Year.

2003

OUP

Oxygen takes the reader on an enthralling journey, as gripping as a thriller, as it unravels the unexpected ways in which oxygen spurred the evolution of life and death.

2004

CRC Press

As the first major text on cryobiology in the genomic era, Life in the Frozen State describes how living cells and complex organisms survive very low temperatures.