Molecular Storms

The Physics of Stars, Cells and the Origin of Life

"[this] grand tour of the physical world leaves little unexamined, starting with simple systems of gas molecules in a box, moving to the smallest, simplest living cells, then on to whole planets. Graham does a stunning job of connecting everything to the state of disorder we call entropy and to the driving force behind structures everywhere – the “molecular storms” of his title"  - New Scientist.  See the full review here (paywall).


“Graham displays a magisterial command of the material... a thought-provoking reflection on the deepest of questions.” - Kirkus ReviewsSee the full review here.


If you fancy buying the book, you can find it at these links, or at the bookshop / website of your choice:

Springer

Barnes and Noble (US)

Bookshop.org (US)

Blackwells (UK)

Bookshop.org (UK)

Foyles (UK)

Waterstones (UK)

ADVANCE PRAISE


“Only a few writers have managed to turn the highly technical jargon of science into language accessible for interested lay readers. Isaac Asimov showed us how it could be done, and Carl Zimmer and Brian Greene are continuing today. In Molecular Storms, his first book, Liam Graham has shown that he has the essential quality required to join this group, a love of first learning then explaining how the universe works." David Deamer, Professor of Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, author of Assembling Life.

“Following in the footsteps of Stephen Hawking's ‘A brief history of time’ and Simon Singh's ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ this exceptionally accessible book will leave you marvelling at the wonders of the world and, if you didn't listen to your science teachers, wishing you had. Graham writes with the mind of a physicist and the soul of a poet.” Nicki Hayes, CCO, The Communication Practice, author of First Aid for Feelings.

“A great place to start if you are interested in the origin of life! Graham skillfully presents an up-to-date account of some of the deepest problems in science: how does living matter work, and how might it have come to be? With clear explanations, simply presented and intuitively appealing, the level is accessible to a curious non-expert yet still a profitable introductory read for an undergraduate or interdisciplinary researcher in life or physical sciences.” Nigel Goldenfeld, Professor of Physics, University of California, San Diego.

“This book should be called ‘Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Thermodynamics (But Were Afraid To Ask)’ .  Through humour and powerful images, it took me on an enlightening and enjoyable guided tour through a hitherto obscure corner of physics. Reading it changed the way I think about the world and my reasons for being in it.“ Valentine Allen, actor, director, author of Rondeurs.

"I'm delighted to see thermodynamics portrayed as a source of 'joy' and I'd have appreciated finding this book as a senior in college.” Nicole Yunger Halpern, Professor of Physics, University of Maryland, author of Quantum Steampunk.

“Liam Graham has that rare ability to take a seemingly staggeringly complex subject – life itself – and strip it down into a set of smaller problems. He then shows you, by argument, analogy, vivid examples and good-humoured persuasion, that each of these smaller problems is much more manageable, and can be related back to a few key concepts. Taken one at a time, each then becomes a staging point in your journey towards understanding the big picture.  Like all the best guides, his enthusiasm and sense of wonder are infectious.” Stephen Wright, Professor of Economics, Birkbeck College, University of London.


Why is the universe the way it is?  Wherever we look, we find ordered structures: stars, planets, crystals and living cells.  This book shows that the same driving force is behind structure everywhere:  the incessant random motion of the components of matter.  Physicists call this thermal noise.  Let’s call it the molecular storm.

This storm drives the fusion reactions that make stars shine.  It drives whirlpools and currents in atmospheres and oceans.  It spins and distorts molecules until they are in the right orientation to react and form new substances.  In living cells, it drives proteins to fold and molecules to self-assemble, it is behind every detail of the astonishing molecular machines that control cellular processes.

Using cutting-edge research, “Molecular Storms” takes us on a dazzling journey from the early universe to the interior of the smallest living things.  There, in a nanoscale world of biological devices, it explains the physics behind the chemical system which we call Life.

Whether you're someone with a general interest in science or a student looking to add context to your studies, this book is for you. "Molecular Storms" is an accessible and captivating read that will deepen your appreciation of the power of science to explain the world.