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Design and Information in Biology
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Chapter 1: Introduction: Part I - Design and information in biological systems Design, function and elegance; Evolution and design; Evolution and information; Using the information; Information and the origin of life; Wider aspects of information transfer Chapter 2: Introduction: Part II - Genomes, genes and proteins Introduction; Genome evolution; Organisation of DNA for replication; More on gene structure and function; Gene sequence and cellular function; How many genes are needed?; Variations on a theme; Concluding remarks Chapter 3: Green grass, red blood, blueprint: reflections on life, self-replication, and evolution Of crystals and colloids; Queen Christina's challenge; Different views of life; The beginnings of life on Earth; Models of biogenesis: glimpses of the truth or just-so stories?; Information aspects of life, self-replication and evolution; Virtual worlds; Von Neumann's self-replicating automata; In von Neumann's tracks artificial life; Real-world self-replication; Self-replicating probes for space exploration; Self-replication and nanotechnology; A comparison of natural and artificial self-replication; Trivial vs. non-trivial self-replication; Epistemic cut and semantic closure; Epilogue Chapter 4: The Human Genome Project Introduction; The Human Genome Project; The human genome sequence draft; Functional genomics: assigning function to the genome; Applications of the human genome sequence in medical sciences; Concluding remarks Chapter 5: The laws of thermodynamics: entropy, free energy, information and complexity Introduction; Application of classical thermodynamics to physics; Application of laws of thermodynamics in engineering; Application of thermodynamics to biology - glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid (Krebs) cycle; Equivalence of thermal and statistical entropy; Role of entropy in contemporary studies; Pros and cons of Shannon entropy; Information and complexity; Evolution - a universal paradigm; Evolution of the biosphere; Thermodynamics, life's emergence and Darwinian evolution; Conclusion Chapter 6: The laws of thermodynamics and Homo sapiens the engineer Introduction; Biology and thermodynamics: a bad start to the relationship; The heat engine and the work engine; The survival engine: e.g. the lizard; Work engines and the dome of the Florence Cathedral; Brunelleschi, the complexity engine; Some consequences for Homo sapiens; Is there a fourth law of thermodynamics?; How mathematical is biology? How chaotic is evolution?; Conclusion Chapter 7: Information theory and sensory perception Introduction; Theories of perception; Information and redundancy; Information and noise in continuous signals; Discussion; Conclusion Chapter 8: Flight Introduction; The origins of flight; Flight roles and techniques; Designs for flight The energetics of flight: power, speed, size and behavioural ecology; Conclusions Chapter 9: Insect observations and hexapod design Introduction; Justification for biologically inspired engineering; Anatomy and leg structure of insects; Insect behaviours; Insect walking; The swing/stance phases; Rough terrain strategies; Compliance; Dynamic considerations; Biological principles for hexapod design Chapter 10: The palm - a model for success? Introduction; Evolutionary theory and complexity; Botanical aspects of palms; Engineering aspects of palms; Conclusions; Glossary Chapter 11: The human world seen as living systems Introduction; The RSA; The living systems approach; Companies; Changing society in the modern world; The human factor; Democracy and justice; Globalisation; Local communities; Conclusion Chapter 12: Searching for improvement Introduction; Fitness landscapes and interactions; Some methods for design improvement; Summary Chapter 13: Living systems, 'total design' and the evolution of the automobile: the significance and application of holistic design methods in automotive design, manufacture and operation Introduction; Living systems, biomimesis and the 'closed loop' economy; Total design, process and methods; Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment; Three product case histories; The need for change in automotive design, manufacture and operation; Current trends in automotive design and manufacture; Potential changes in the automotive industry; LCA and automotive manufacture; Conclusion Chapter 14: Emergent behaviours in autonomous robots Introduction; Complexity from simplicity - emergent behaviour from simple rules; Modern reactive robots; More complex behaviours; Hardware implementation; Emergent behaviour through evolution; Conclusion

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