Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Synthetic Biology and the Mechanism of Life

Abstract

THE presidential address delivered by Prof. Schäfer to the British Association in 1912, and the subsequent independent discussion at a joint sitting of two of the sections, served, as was pointed out by Prof. Armstrong in a paper in Science Progress in October last, “as a useful corrective to the wave of vitalism that has passed over society of late years owing to the pervasive eloquence of Bergson and other writers.” Probably the majority of those who have studied the phenomena of life from the chemical side will agree with Prof. Schäfer in his dictum that “at the best vitalism explains nothing,” and accept his opinion “that we may fairly conclude that all changes in living substance are brought about by ordinary chemical and physical forces.” The difficulty, however, lies in obtaining any satisfactory information as to what are the actual chemical or physical changes which occur in the real living cells or tissues. Since this discussion was held Prof. S. Leduc, of the School of Medicine at Nantes, has published a monograph 1 in which he approaches the problem from the novel point of view which now for several years past has guided his experiments and with which readers of his “Mechanism of Life” will be familiar.

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

D., W. Synthetic Biology and the Mechanism of Life . Nature 91, 270–272 (1913). https://doi.org/10.1038/091270d0

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/091270d0

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing