Peter Medawar - Morgan Freeman TV - Great Thinkers: In Their Own Words TV - Horizon TV - Curiosity: How Does Life Begin? TV - Lucian Freud - Jim Thomas - Jean Rostand - R J P Williams - Stephen Hawking et al TV - Richard Dawkins - Ernst Mayr - Edward O Wilson - Rachel Carson - Francis Crick - William Thomas Astbury - Roseanne Barr – Kevin Fong TV - Genius of Britain TV - Eric Kandel -
During the 1950s the first great age of molecular biology, the English Schools of Oxford and particularly of Cambridge produced more than a score of graduates of quite outstanding ability – much more brilliant, inventive, articulate and dialectically skilful than most young scientists; right up in the Watson class. But Watson had one towering advantage over all of them: in addition to being extremely clever he had something important to be clever about. Peter Medawar
But could life also exist on a vastly different scale? Where planets act like single cells? And black holes reproduce the DNA of space itself? Could the secrets of the cosmos lie not in physics but in biology? Is the universe alive? Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman s3e3: Is the Universe Alive? Science 2012
What does it really mean to be alive? ibid.
This is where a century of enquiry into human behaviour fought out on the airwaves has brought us. We are undoubtedly products of our biology, and the potential for human failing will always be there. But that doesn’t mean we’re slaves to our nature. The sophistication of the human brain and the ways in which we live together have given us the power to recognise and master our worst impulses. This after all is what being human is all about. Great Thinkers: In Their Own Words 1/3 Human, All Too Human, BBC 2011
It’s how all of this develops from a fertilised egg is the central pull of modern biology. Horizon: Genesis, BBC 1986
Yet completely different animals start out as almost identical looking embryos suggest they may not be so different after all. ibid.
Across the world tens of thousands of people have been part of a truly remarkable scientific project. It’s altering our understanding of what made you the way you are today. Scientists think they have discovered in these people’s lives the secret of a healthy happy long life for all of us. Studying our journeys from baby to adulthood is revealing the most important part of your life, maybe one you can’t even remember: the nine months before you were born. Horizon: The Nine Months That Made You, BBC 2011
David Barker believed that in these records he had found a simple and powerful link between a low weight at birth and heart disease later in life. The idea that future health was linked to birth weight was named the Barker Theory. ibid.
From the moment you are born parts of your future health, happiness and personality could already be determined. ibid.
Scientists are discovering it’s not just the food that reaches us in the womb but also the hormones we are exposed to that could powerfully affect how our life unfolds. ibid.
More testosterone exposure makes your behaviour more male. ibid.
Over billions of years the natural world has evolved exquisite beauty and complexity. But just recently we’ve started to do something remarkable: we’ve found a way to take life and radically redesign it. Horizon: Playing God, BBC 2012
Can this power be abused? ibid.
Dr Craig Venter had created something unique: a completely synthetic life-form. ibid.
Life can be programmed like a machine and that the components can be simply ordered online from a standardised tool kit. ibid.
This is synthetic biology at full tilt. ibid.
This technology has breathtaking potential. ibid.
An army of 300 million sperm in an epic quest for fertilisation ... We can peer into this secret world and bring this epic struggle to life. Curiosity: How Does Life Begin? Discovery 2011
There are more than a quarter million babies born on this planet every day. ibid.
After twenty-four hours of intense struggle this single simple cell has overcome odds of a trillion to one to deliver its genetic payload to its target. ibid.
I see as a biologist. When I’m painting people in clothes I’m always thinking of naked people or animals dressed. Lucian Freud
Synthetic biology is a progress trap par excellence ... A massive corporate grab on plant life. Jim Thomas, The New Biomasters
The discipline of biology will not only survive but prosper if it turns out that genetic information really is the product of pre-existing intelligence. Biologists will have to give up their dogmatic materialism and discard unproductive hypotheses like the prebiotic soup, but to abandon bad ideas is a gain, not a loss. Freed of the metaphysical chains that tie it to nineteenth-century materialism, biology can turn to the fascinating task of discovering how the intelligence embodied in the genetic information works through matter to make the organism function. In that case chemical evolution will go the way of alchemy – abandoned because a better understanding of the problem revealed its futility – and science will have reached a new plateau. Phillip E Johnson, Reason in the Balance
The biologist passes, the frog remains. Jean Rostand, 1967
Biology is the search for the chemistry that works. R J P Williams, lecture Oxford June 1996
Scientists are hunting for a life-form that could help defeat one of humanity’s biggest killers ... Cyanobacteria because it’s known to have special biological properties. Brave New World with Stephen Hawking: Biology, Mark Evans in Panama, Channel 4 2011
It’s the properties in this marine snot that Kevin and his colleagues are studying. ibid.
What would it be like if we could harness these extraordinary natural processes and shape them to our own purpose? ... It’s called Synthetic Biology. ibid. Professor Richard Dawkins
ECM or Extra-Cellular Matrix: it’s a biological structure on which a body can build or rebuild itself and its found in all animals. ibid. Joy Ridenberg in Pittsburgh
The more we discover about DNA the more complex it becomes. ibid. Hawking
There’s some new evidence that what we do to our genes can affect not only our children but our children’s children. ibid. Professor Robert Winston
Epigenetics and the study of the way genes function will be one of the most significant advances in health care in the next decade. ibid.
Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose. Richard Dawkins
You can’t even begin to understand biology, you can’t understand life, unless you understand what it's all there for, how it arose – and that means evolution. Richard Dawkins
Biology can be divided into the study of proximate causes, the study of the physiological sciences (broadly conceived), and into the study of ultimate (evolutionary) causes, the subject of natural history. Ernst Mayr
Biology is a science of three dimensions. The first is the study of each species across all levels of biological organization, molecule to cell to organism to population to ecosystem. The second dimension is the diversity of all species in the biosphere. The third dimension is the history of each species in turn, comprising both its genetic evolution and the environmental change that drove the evolution. Biology, by growing in all three dimensions, is progressing toward unification and will continue to do so. Edward O Wilson
I like to define biology as the history of the earth and all its life – past, present, and future. To understand biology is to understand that all life is linked to the earth from which it came; it is to understand that the stream of life, flowing out of the dim past into the uncertain future, is in reality a unified force, though composed of an infinite number and variety of separate lives. Rachel Carson, preface to Humane Biology Projects, 1961
The ultimate aim of the modern movement in biology is in fact to explain all biology in terms of physics and chemistry. Francis Crick, Of Molecules and Men p10
What is found in biology is mechanisms, mechanisms built with chemical components and that are often modified by other, later, mechanisms added to the earlier ones. While Occam’s razor is a useful tool in the physical sciences, it can be a very dangerous implement in biology. Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit
[Molecular biology] is concerned particularly with the forms of biological molecules and with the evolution, exploitation and ramification of these forms in the ascent to higher and higher levels of organisation. Molecular biology is predominantly three-dimensional and structural – which does not mean, however, that it is merely a refinement of morphology. It must at the same time inquire into genesis and function. William Thomas Astbury
I’m enjoying my life, post-menopause, so much. It’s just so great to grow into yourself, and not be bothered with all that tyranny of biology. Roseanne Barr