The Outer Reaches of Life

The Outer Reaches of Life Cover

The Outer Reaches of Life

By John R. Postgate

Cambridge University Press, Hardcover, 9780521440103, 288pp.

Publication Date: March 25, 1994

Since the dawn of life on Earth, the world has been gradually transformed by living things into a comfortable home for plants and animals, including human beings. But many harsh and seemingly inhospitable places remain. It is the inhabitants of such places, mainly invisible microbes, that reveal the remarkable potential and resilience of life itself. How do microbes survive, even flourish, in superheated water or supercooled brine, at enormous pressures, without air, amid poisons? And what part do, and did, they play in making the Earth hospitable? In this fascinating account, engagingly written for lay readers, one of the world's leading microbiologists tells of the diverse adjustments microbes have made to apparently impossible habitats.