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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - BOOKS REVIEWS -

HUMANOLOGY:ASCIENTIST’SGUIDE TOOURAMAZINGEXISTENCE PRO­FES­SOR LUKE O’NEILL Gill Books, ¤24.99

Most of you will be fa­mil­iar with Prof Luke O’Neill’s ap­pear­ances on ra­dio, tack­ling pop­u­lar sci­ence with wit and great eru­di­tion. The Trin­ity bio­chemist’s skills as an en­gag­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tor trans­late eas­ily to the printed page. Like Bill Bryson’s A Short His­tory of Nearly Ev­ery­thing, Humanology makes a fair at­tempt to ex­plain ev­ery as­pect of what makes us hu­man: how, when, where, and who, with some spec­u­la­tion as to why. But make no mis­take, for all the easy wit and clever pop-cul­ture ref­er­ences, this is a sci­ence book. Us­ing the most up-to-date data, O’Neill moves from pre-cre­ation to our even­tual ex­tinc­tion, tak­ing in the cell (do you re­ally know what a pro­tein is?), laugh­ter, gen­der as­sign­ments, love (sci­ence of), God, diet, dis­ease, cry­op­reser­va­tion, the FucM gene, 10cc, pop­u­la­tion con­trol and the “Em­peror of Mal­adies”. A ter­rific read.

JOE CULLEY

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