THE CELL: A BIOLOGIST’S PEEP INTO AN AWESOME MICRO-UNIVERSE OF ‘RIVETING BEAUTY’ AND OF LIFE’S ORIGINS
Emeritus Professor Anwar Mall, University of Cape Town
Monday 22–Friday 26 January 3.00 pm COURSE FEES R550; Staff and students R275
It is a fact that the cell is the basic unit of all living matter, a ‘unit of life’. But what is life and how did it originate from non-living matter? This course will delve into some intriguing questions about the history of the cell and cellular research, the scientific discovery of the cell, the somewhat mysterious thoughts about its origins, and the controversies around what it means to be ‘alive’. We are the beneficiaries of the innovative thinking of brilliant minds of past and present, whose perseverance has taken us into this tiny universe of enormous precision and exquisiteness, the proper functioning of which keeps us alive and healthy. The course will cover findings of the physical properties of the cell and their regulation; the structures, and functions of some of its organelles, a brief history of some of the pioneers in cell research, and the debates and controversies around the origin of life will be covered in this course.
1. Introduction: Early beginnings and tributes to pioneers
2. A tour of a eukaryotic cell
3. At the beginning of life
4. Life and living (and death)?
5. Proteins; the politics of the cell
Mukherjee, S. 2022. The Song of the Cell. An exploration of Medicine and the new human. Penguin Random House.
Zimmer, C. 2021. Life’s Edge. The Search for what it means to be alive. Picador Books.
Ramakrishnan, V. 2018. Gene Machine. the race to describe the secrets of the ribosome. A Oneworld Book.
Lane, N. 2005. Power, Sex and Suicide. Mitochondria and the meaning of life. Oxford University Press.
Lane, N. 2022. The deep chemistry of life and death. London: Profile Books.