At least since physicist Irwin Schrödinger published "What Is Life?" (1944), the popular imagination has struggled alongside scientific exploration to recognize what is alive, and what isn't. The question hangs over some of society's most charged conflicts - whether a fertilized egg is a living person, and when we ought to declare a person legally dead. We even wonder if we can create life in the lab, and we certainly hope our billion-dollar interplanetary probes know how to look for it in space. This is the subject of Carl Zimmer's brand new book, Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive.
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