Life in the Habitable Zone (John D Barrow); From Clay to the Code of Life (Hyman Hartman); Stepping Up to Life (Jack W Szostak); When Cells Get Creative (Giulia Rancati and Norman Pavelka); Finding Strength in Numbers (Detlev Arendt); There and Back Again (Per Ahlberg); Conquest of the Land and Sea (Byrappa Venkatesh); A Salute to Our Placoderm Pioneers (John A Long); Warming Up to Mammals (Harris Lewin); All in the Family (Francis Thackeray); Lessons From Our Inner Neanderthal (Svante Paabo); Wired for Intelligence (Terrence Sejnowski); Getting Smart About Learning (Atsushi Iriki); More Than Just Small Talk (Tecumseh Fitch); The Logic of Cultural Evolution (Roland Fletcher); Going with the (Information) Flow (Sander van der Leeuw); Lingo with a Life of Its Own (N J Enfield); How We Became Modern (W Brian Arthur); The Creative Destruction of Evolution (Stefan Thurner); The Challenge of the Anthropocene (J Stephen Lansing); Difficult Questions in Evolution (Eoers Szathmary); An Evolving View on Evolution (Gerd B. Muller); The Humble View from Inside Evolution (Helga Nowotny); Epilogue (Sydney Brenner).
Sydney Brenner was born in 1927 in South Africa, where he attended high school and medical school; he 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 Francois 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 Caenorhabitis 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 of 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.