14 May, 2020 570 Biology

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss photosynthesis, the process by which green plants and many other organisms use sunlight to synthesise organic molecules. Photosynthesis arose very early in evolutionary history and has been a crucial driver of life on Earth. In addition to providing most of the food consumed by organisms on the planet, it is also responsible for maintaining atmospheric oxygen levels, and is thus almost certainly the most important chemical process ever discovered.

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  • Nick Lane 5 episodes
    Reader in Evolutionary Biochemistry at University College London
  • Sandra Knapp 2 episodes
    Botanist at the Natural History Museum
  • John Allen No other episodes
    Professor of Biochemistry at Queen Mary, University of London

Reading list

  • The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History
    David Beerling (Oxford University Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Photosynthesis
    Robert E. Blankenship (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014) Google Books →
  • Discoveries in Photosynthesis
    Govindjee, J. T. Beatty, H. Gest, J. F. Allen (eds.) (Springer, 2005) Google Books →
  • Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth
    Andrew H. Knoll (Princeton University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World
    Nick Lane (Oxford University Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
    Nick Lane (Profile Books, 2010) Google Books →
  • Nature's Palette: The Science of Plant Color
    David Lee (University of Chicago Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet
    Oliver Morton (Fourth Estate, 2009) Google Books →
  • Revolutions that Made the Planet
    Tim Lenton and Andrew Watson (Oxford University Press, 2011)

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Auto-category: 570 (Biology)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Three and a half billion years ago, this planet was a hostile and barren place.