Suggested List of Additional Reading

The following is a guide to reading for the course accompanying the lecture series.  Readings below are organized by their relevance to each speaker's topic.

"The NASA Astrobiology Roadmap", Astrobiology 8, 715-730, (2008).


Terrence Deacon  (emergence of life, consciousness)

M. Polanyi. Life's Irreducible Structure. Science 160, 1308-1312 (1968).

P.W. Anderson and D.L. Stein. Broken Symmetry, Emergent Properties, Dissipative Structures, Life. Are They Related? in F. Eugene Yates (ed.) Self-Organising Systems: The Emergence of Order.  Springer (1988).

A. Juarrero. Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System. Bradford/MIT Press (1999) (chapters 7-9).

T. Deacon. A role for relaxed selection in the evolution of the language capacity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (supplement 2), 9000-9006 (2010).

T. Deacon, Chapter 0: Absence, from Incomplete Nature. Norton & Company. (2011).

T. Deacon and T. Cashman, Chapter 13: Teleology Versus Mechanism in Biology: Beyond Self-organization, forthcoming.


Bill Schopf (origins of life)

J.W. Schopf and A.B. Kudryavtsev. A renaissance in studies of ancient life. Geology Today 26, 140-145 (2010).

W. Gilbert. The RNA world. Nature 319, 618 (1986).

J.W. Szostak, D.P. Bartel and P.L. Luisi. Synthesizing life. Nature 409, 387-390 (2001).

A.H. Knoll. The geological consequences of evolution. Geobiology 1, 3-14 (2003).

A. Pohorille and D. Deamer. Self-assembly and function of primitive cell membranes. Research in Microbiology 160, 449-456 (2009).


Steven Benner (origins and complexity of life, search for life elsewhere)

S.A. Benner. Life, the Universe and the Scientific Method. FfAME Press (2009).

D. A. Liberles, ed. Experimental Paleogenetics, Academic Press (2007).

S.A. Benner, Z. Yang and F. Chen. Synthetic biology, tinkering biology, and artificial biology. What are we learning? Comptes Rendus 14, 372-387 (2011).

S.A. Benner, M.D. Caraco, J.M. Thomson and E.A. Gaucher. Planetary biology. Paleontological, geological, and molecular histories of life. Science 293, 864-868 (2002).

E.A. Gaucher, J.M. Thomson, M.F. Burgan and S.A. Benner. Inferring the paleoenvironment of ancient bacteria on the basis of resurrected proteins. Nature 425, 285-288 (2003).

R. Shapiro. A Simpler Origin for Life. Scientific American, February 12, (2007).


Wallace Marshall (cellular complexity)

D'Arcy Thompson. On Growth and Form (1917) (chapters 1-5).

W.F. Marshall. Organelle size control systems: From cell geometry to organelle-directed medicine. Bioessays 34, 721-724 (2012).

B.D. Engel, W.B. Ludington and W.F. Marshall. Intraflagellar transport particle size scales inversely with flagellar length: revisiting the balance-point length control model. Journal of Cell Biology 187, 81-89 (2009).

W.F. Marshall, H. Qin, M. Rodrigo Brenni and J.L. Rosenbaum. Flagellar length control system: testing a simple model based on intraflagellar transport and turnover. Molecular Biology of the Cell 16, 270-278 (2005).

W.F. Marshall and J.L. Rosenbaum. Intraflagellar transport balances continuous turnover of outer doublet microtubules: implications for flagellar length control. Journal of Cell Biology 155, 405-414 (2001).


Sara Seager (exoplanets)

S. Seager. Is There Life Out There? Exoplanets and the Search For Habitable Worlds (book).

S. Seager and D. Deming. Exoplanet Atmospheres. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 48, 631-672 (2010).

S. Seager, M. Schrenk and W. Bains. An Astrophysical View of Earth-Based Metabolic Biosignature Gases. Astrobiology 12, 61-82 (2012).

L.A. Rogers and S. Seager. Three Possible Origins for the Gas Layer on GJ 1214b. Astrophysical Journal 716, 1208-1216 (2010).

J.L. Bean, E. Miller-Ricci Kempton and D. Homeier. A ground-based transmission spectrum of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b. Nature 468, 669-672 (2010).


Christof Koch (consciousness)

C. Koch. Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist, MIT Press (2012) (preface and Chapter 8).

F. Crick and C. Koch. A framework for consciousness. Nature Neuroscience 6, 119-126 (2003).

N. Block. Two neural correlates of consciousness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9, 46-52 (2005).

C. Koch and S. Greenfield. How does consciousness happen?  Scientific American, October 2007, 76-83.

C. Koch and N. Tsuchiya. Attention and consciousness: two distinct brain processes.Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11, 16-22 (2007).

G. Tononi and C. Koch.  The Neural Correlates of Consciousness: An Update. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1124, 239–261 (2008).