Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution
Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution

Sydney Brenner's 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution

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by Shuzhen Sim and Benjamin Seet

About the book:

Humans now wield a greater influence on the planet than any other species in history, and human-developed technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence stand poised to overtake biological evolution. Just how did we arrive at this unique moment in human history, 14 billion years after the birth of the universe? Sydney Brenner’s 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution brings together 24 prominent scientists and thinkers to trace the story of evolution through ten logarithmic scales of time. Through expert insights, this unique volume considers how humans found our place in the cosmos, and imagines what lies ahead.

About Sydney Brenner

Sydney Brenner was born in 1927 in South Africa, where he attended high school and medical school; he later received his DPhil from Oxford University, UK. One of the pioneers of modern molecular biology, Brenner was instrumental in deciphering the basic principles of the genetic code. In the 1960s, together with Francis Crick, Brenner showed that the code is composed of non-overlapping triplets; in collaboration with François Jacob and Matthew Meselson, he went on to demonstrate the existence of messenger RNA.

Brenner is also known for spearheading the use of the nematode worm Caenorhabitis elegans as a model organism for understanding human biology. He was later awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (with H. Robert Horvitz and John E. Sulston) for his work in C. elegans on the genetics of programmed cell death. In the genomic era, Brenner developed new methods for next generation DNA sequencing, and initiated a project to sequence the compact genome of the Japanese pufferfish or fugu.

Brenner was the late scientific advisor to the chairman at the Agency of Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, and an adjunct professor at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore, among other affiliations. He passed away at the age of 92 on 5 April 2019. 

Chapter authors

  1. Life In The Habitable Zone (John D. Barrow)
  2. From Clay To The Code Of Life (Hyman Hartman)
  3. Stepping Up To Life (Jack W. Szostak)
  4. When Cells Get Creative (Giulia Rancati and Norman Pavelka)
  5. Finding Strength In Numbers (Detlev Arendt)
  6. There And Back Again (Per Ahlberg)
  7. Conquest Of The Land And Sea (Byrappa Venkatesh)
  8. A Salute To Our Placoderm Pioneers (John A. Long)
  9. Warming Up To Mammals (Harris Lewin)
  10. All In The Family (Francis Thackeray)
  11. Lessons From Our Inner Neanderthal (Svante Pääbo)
  12. Wired For Intelligence (Terrence Sejnowski)
  13. Getting Smart About Learning (Atsushi Iriki)
  14. More Than Just Small Talk (Tecumseh Fitch)
  15. The Logic Of Cultural Evolution (Roland Fletcher)
  16. Going With The (Information) Flow (Sander van der Leeuw)
  17. Lingo With A Life Of Its Own (N. J. Enfield)
  18. How We Became Modern (W. Brian Arthur)
  19. The Creative Destruction Of Evolution (Stefan Thurner)
  20. The Challenge Of The Anthropocene (J. Stephen Lansing)
  21. Difficult Questions In Evolution (Eörs Szathmáry)
  22. An Evolving View On Evolution (Gerd B. Müller)
  23. The Humble View From Inside Evolution (Helga Nowotny)
  24. Epilogue (Sydney Brenner)

Editorial reviews

"This wonderfully anthropocentric and chronocentric book throws ten logs on the fiery topics of evolution. A must-read—next to Hawking's A Brief History of Time and Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. A remarkably readable and inspiring distillate of amazing lecturers covering topics from the Big Bang to the Anthropocene, with many insights into the near and far future along the way." —George Church, professor, Harvard University

"Another real winner from Brenner! Sydney's brain never stops generating clever insights about the nature of life." —James D. Watson, Nobel laureate (Physiology or Medicine, 1962) 

"The Chronicles of Evolution brings together an impressive team of leading scientists to introduce readers to the history of life, from its very beginnings to the emergence of our own species." Carl Zimmer, author of She Has Her Mother's Laugh

"In all of this book the guiding intellect of Sydney Brenner is apparent. No one understands evolution better than he." —David Lane, chief scientist, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore

"An inspirational read. If there is one person who could distil 14 billion years of evolutionary history into a single volume, accessible to and for everyone—and do so with such impish brilliance—it could only be the unique Sydney Brenner." —Jeremy Farrar, director, Wellcome Trust

"... I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to get a fast overview of evolution. It is not easy to put it down." —Richard Roberts, Nobel laureate (Physiology or Medicine, 1993)

"This book is a must-read for everyone." —Bruce Stillman, president, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

"The Chronicles of Evolution takes readers on a thought-provoking, bold and extremely readable journey into 14 billion years of evolutionary history." —Subra Suresh, president, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

"Spanning 14 billion years and 10 timescales, this scientific chronicle (brainchild of Nobel-prizewinning geneticist Sydney Brenner) addresses the monumental question of how humanity has come to dominate Earth. Among the 24 prominent scientists and thinkers who contribute are mathematician John Barrow on the habitable zone, biotechnologists Giulia Rancati and Norman Pavelka on cellular complexity, neuroscientist Atsushi Iriki on the evolution of human higher cognition and social scientist Helga Nowotny on our "radically open future". A lavishly illustrated, thought-provoking ride."—Barbara Kiser, books & arts editor, Nature (review here)


ISBN: 978-981-11-8718-6
Publication Date: 9 November 2018
Dimensions: 176mm x 250 mm
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover