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Introduction i The Meaning of Science 2 What Is Life? 6 Some Origins Models Before Science 8 CHAPTER 1 Foundations of the Universe I3 What Is in the Universe? I4 Physics Holds One of the Clues to the Origins: Relativity I6 The Next Clue: Quantum Physics 26 Forces of Nature and Elementary Particles 37 Conclusions 41 CHAPTER 2 Building a Universe 42 Cosmology: The Big Bang Model 42 The Genesis of Stars and Planets 51 Conclusions 6o CHAPTER 3 Life as It Is Today 62 The Universal Blueprint 63 Variations in the Blueprint 72 Metabolism and Energy Transactions 78 Life That Depends on Simple Molecules Only 85 The Cell's Envelope and Its Skeleton 87 Conclusions 89 CHAPTER 4 Prebiotic Earth: First Organic Compounds and First Informational Molecules 92 Organic Compounds from Earth's Putative Primitive Atmosphere 94 Space Chemistry and the Origins of Life 99 Ocean Floor Chemistry Io2 Proteins and Metabolism First: The Iron-Sulfur World 104 Genetic Information First: The RNA World 112 Conclusions In6 CHAPTER 5 Life on Its Way 117 Lessons from Bacteriophages II8 Quasispecies and Hypercycles 20 Origin of the Genetic Code: From the RNA World to Proteins 125 Protocells and the Emergence of the DNA World 131 First DNA-Containing Cells and Their Evolution I34 Paths of Fast Evolution I39 First Eukaryotes 141 Conclusions 152 CHAPTER 6 Has Life Originated Elsewhere and Will It End? 154 Panspermia I55 Life Elsewhere in the Solar System? I58 Discontent with Origins Models 66 The End of the Universe, the End of Life 170 Conclusions 171 APPENDIX 1 A Graphic Representation of Special Relativity 175 APPENDIX 2 More on Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle 177 APPENDIX 3 How Do We Know the Age of the Universe? I79 APPENDIX 4 Eric Chaisson's View of Cosmic Evolution 81 APPENDIX 5 Do the Universe and Life Have a Purpose and a Designer? 183Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication: Life Origin, Cosmology