Aristoteles looked at plants only as partially alive, because they seem to completely lack any cognition. Nowadays we use the term "vegetate" to describe a way of life lacking any higher functions. But is this correct? Maybe, we are just too biased or too numb, to perceive the "Secret Life of Plants" (such was the title of a widespread esoteric bestseller)?
Prof. Dr. Daniel Chamovitz from Tel Aviv University has collected in his book "What A Plant Knows" the exciting and often surprising findings of modern plant science in an entertaining, but scientifically correct way. In this bestseler (which has already been translated into several language in the few years after its first publication) he shows, how plants in a complex and highly sophisticated way sense, process and respond to information on their environment. These responses are often developmental rather than the movements we observe in animals, with whom we are more familiar. Thus, the "Secret Life of Plants" works on a different time scale, which might be the reason, why it is so difficult for us to ascribe cognition to the probably most successful life form on this planet.
Do we have to revise our image and see plants as "intelligent" forms of Life?
Daniel Chamovitz was born in Pennsylvania geboren and studied in the USA and in Jerusalem, where he defended his Ph.D. in Genetics. After a postdoc period at Yale University he returned to Israel in 1996 and since then teaches at the University Tel Aviv. In addition to his specific research (dealing with the question, how plants can sense and process light. In a second project he investigates, for what purpose plants produce compounds that can be used by humans to combat cancer) he always has remained interested in topics of social impact. In 2013, he founded the Manna Center that supports research on the topic, how we can establish and safeguard food safety for all humans living on this planet.