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Oxygen Book Summary – May 2022

Author: Nick Lane

Short Summary
Oxygen (2002) is a well-crafted book on the account of the most important molecule in our lives. This book will provide you with both perspectives of how oxygen is important since the beginning of the time and how it has threatened lives at the same time.
oxygen book
Source: amazon.com

Detailed Summary

The author sets out to explain that oxygen is a key component in many chemical reactions and the evolution of many life forms. Yet we ignore it on a daily basis. Because it is colorless and odorless, it sort of masks its presence hence masking its importance. Oxygen is a key reactor in photosynthesis and is important for our respiration. This book will take you to many years ago when our planet consisted of only a unicellular organism. It will show you how oxygen killed many unicellular organisms while motivating the creation of huge organisms like three feet spiders and dragonflies.

It has the tendency to scare you by comparing oxygen to radiation and by painting it as a killer of innocent unicellular organisms too. However, it also makes you aware of the miraculous nature of oxygen. It helps us breathe and plants store it as energy. Without it, there would be no water and no marine life.

Oxygen Book Key Points

The Miracle of Oxygen in Photosynthesis

Oxygen is so important to the whole process of photosynthesis that not only it is released as a byproduct in the atmosphere but it is also stored as energy for a plant. Also, oxygen is used in cellular respiration so if we want to keep eating and breathing, we certainly need oxygen! Without oxygen, our system will stop working and suffocation will turn our blood blue and pink skin would dull to gray. Moreover, the steady beep, beep, beep of the heart would fade and eventually falter.

Atmospheric Oxygen Helped the Ocean Life Millions of years ago

As we all know, sunlight breaks water down into its components hydrogen and oxygen. While hydrogen is a free component and can essentially escape into the atmosphere, the molecule of oxygen is heavier and denser so this resulted in a massive loss of water from the planet earth. Hydrogen went to the atmosphere while oxygen remained stuck. This all changed with the evolution of plants and the beginning of photosynthesis. As plants performed photosynthesis, a massive amount of oxygen was produced as a product. This oxygen gathered in the atmosphere in a huge amount where it reacted with hydrogen to form more water and saved our planet from water scarcity millions of years ago.

Oxygen Threatened Unicellular Lives

Earlier organisms were simpler than the organisms of today. Most of them were unicellular living their lives being dependent on a single cell while some were bicellular these organisms did not have complex systems that could ensure their stability and immunity. Today organisms can survive because of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants do not let the notorious oxygen steal away the electrons. Because the electron-hungry oxygen takes away the electrons from the cells of organisms they will start to fall apart, disintegrate and die rapidly! Now you know why there is a good reason for the earlier life forms to hate oxygen.

But That is Why We Have Multicellular Life Form Today…?

While you may argue oxygen was power-hungry and needed all the electrons, it may have facilitated the formation of organisms that are today formed of hundreds of thousands of cells. While trying to run away from the oxygen-dense areas to save their electrons the organisms can shift towards areas that have oxygen in fewer amounts. But what if that little thief is everywhere! Then the scarred life multi organisms might have teamed up and accumulated together. Literally out of fear? This act of gathering together to save a life can be one of the most possible explanations for the creation of multi-cellular organisms.

Every Breath You Take Is Maybe Making You Age

Well, to be precise oxygen has the power to make you age. Does breathing cause you to get older? Damage from the oxygen you breathe, the meals you consume, radioactivity, and regular cell cycle damage can all contribute to aging, not just by causing malignancy but also by causing cellular deterioration. The accumulation of oxidative oxygen harms us just as it harmed unicellular organisms If reactive oxygen gets together in large amounts, it causes damage to the chromatic DNA, and changes the protein molecules and lipids in the cell. The cell eventually loses its functionality and dies. As we are humans, this cell damage does not cause our death but the loss of certain cell functioning leads to a damaging effect on our tissues and we age faster.

Oxygen Book Quotes

“Of oxygen, whether we think of it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, is the formation of free radicals. As conventionally stated, the idea that breathing oxygen causes aging is disarmingly simple. We produce free” –Nick Lane

“Our bodies are historical accidents of evolution and ultimately can only be understood from an evolutionary perspective: how things got to be the way they are” –Nick Lane

Oxygen Book Review

Through Oxygen Book, Nick Lane invites you on an immersing journey to prehistoric time. If you are someone who has a background in or is interested in biochemistry or biology you will definitely enjoy reading it. It is dense with knowledge and information and requires your full concentration. Nick Lane describes the journey of oxygen in such an interesting way that you will enjoy it just as much as reading about the journey of a real-life hero.

To Whom I Would Recommend Oxygen Book

  • To the scientists to be who are curious about the evolution of life on Earth.
  • The biology geeks are obsessed with huge-sized animals and pre-historic eras.
  • To anyone wondering if oxygen is important for anything other than merely breathing.

Link: https://amzn.to/3oCDcZ3