New Book Traces Humankind’s 14-Billion-Year Journey

Sydney Brenner’s 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution adopts a unique perspective, tracing the evolution of life through ten logarithmic scales of time.

AsianScientist (Nov. 9, 2018) – Wildtype Books has published Sydney Brenner’s 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution, a richly illustrated volume that brings readers on a whirlwind tour through 14 billion years of evolutionary history, from the beginnings of the universe to the rise of humankind and beyond.

The brainchild of Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner, a genetics pioneer who discovered how to read the code of life, the book presents insights from 24 prominent thinkers on how humans found their place in the universe.

It walks us through ten logarithmic scales of time from the Big Bang to the present, spanning the appearance of multicellular life forms, the evolution of humans, and the emergence of language, culture and technology.

Among the world-renowned experts who contributed to the book are:

• Molecular biology pioneer and Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner, who studies genomes and their evolution;
• Nobel laureate Jack Szostak, who studies the origin of biological life;
• Paleogeneticist Svante Pääbo, whose laboratory has sequenced the genomes of Neanderthals, Denisovans and other early humans;
• Complexity economics expert W. Brian Arthur, whose research focuses on the social and economic impact of technology and innovation; and
• Public intellectual Helga Nowotny, who studies the intersection of science, technology and society.

“This wonderfully anthropocentric and chronocentric book throws ten logs on the fiery topics of evolution,” said Professor George Church of Harvard University. “A must-read—next to Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything.”

Sydney Brenner’s 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution is now available at Wildtype and at Kinokuniya Singapore. Get your copy now!  


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About Sydney Brenner

Sydney Brenner was born in 1927 in South Africa, and 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 Caenorhabditis 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 is currently scientific advisor to the chairman at the Agency for 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 continues to work on genomes and their evolution.

Chapter Listing

  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)


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Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

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