Short works

Books : reviews

C. A. R. Boyd, Denis Noble, eds.
The Logic of Life: the challenge of integrative physiology.
OUP. 1993

This book is a highly challenging collection of essays by eminent scientists on the theme of integrative approaches to physiological problems. It will be of interest to biologists who wonder how, and in what way, the current avalanche of information emerging from modern reductive science (molecular biology, cell biology, cell biophysics) can be put together in such a way that appropriate function at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organismal levels ensues. The collection was originally conceived as a response to a remark by Sir James Black (Nobel Laureate, 1988) that the future lay in a ‘progressive triumph of physiology over molecular biology’. Each of the authors was sent an introductory essay on this theme and asked to respond in whatever way they thought appropriate in their field. The intellectual excitement generated has exceeded the expectations of the original invitation. A significant feature of the book is that some of the authors themselves work at the molecular or cellular level. They are joined by others who have taken positions based on their interpretation of modern evolutionary theory, by those whose work is on complex systems (such as the nervous or endocrine systems), and by those whose expertise lies in the general theory of non-linear systems. Conceived as a celebration of the 1993 International Congress of Physiological Sciences, it is a work that matches the immense challenge of modern biological science at the end of the twentieth century.


Denis Noble, C. A. R. Boyd. The Challenge of Integrative Physiology. 1993
Stephen Jay Gould. Evolution of organisms. 1993
E. M. Southern. Physiology and genes. 1993
R. L. Gardner, C. D. Stern. Integration in development. 1993
Jared Diamond. Evolutionary physiology. 1993
D. Denton. Control mechanisms. 1993
J. D. Vincent. Endocrinology. 1993
Masakazu Konishi. Brain and behaviour. 1993
F. Eugene Yates. Self-organizing systems. 1993