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What is Life? the Next Fifty Years

Erwin Schrodinger's book What is Life?, which was originally delivered as a set of lectures at Trinity College, Dublin, is perhaps one of the most important scientific books of the twentieth century. It marked the beginning of molecular biology, and stimulated scientists such as Watson and Crick to explore and discover the structure of DNA. The novelty and appeal of What is Life? is that Schrodinger addressed the central problems of biology--heredity and how organisms use energy to maintain order--from a physicist's perspective. Fifty years later, at Trinity College, a number of outstanding scientists from a range of disciplines gathered to celebrate the anniversary of Schrodinger's lectures. In this book, they present their views on the current main problems in biology. The contributors are eminent scientists (including two Nobel Laureates) and well-known writers of popular science, including Jared Diamond, Christien de Duve, Manfred Eigen, Stephen Jay Gould, Stuart Kauffman, John Maynard Smith, Roger Penrose, and Lewis Wolpert. They tackle questions on our current understanding of the origin of life, evolution, the origin of human inventiveness, developmental biology, and the basis for consciousness. The book ends with a touching biography by Schrodinger's daughter, Ruth Braunizer. This book will set the stage for biological research into the next century and is essential reading for anyone interested in biology and its future.
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Table of Contents

1. What is life? The next fifty years: an introduction Michael P. Murphy and Luke A. J. O'Neill; 2. What will endure of twentieth-century biology? Manfred Eigen; 3. What is Life? as a problem in history Stephen Jay Gould; 4. The evolution of human inventiveness Jared Diamond; 5. Development: is the egg computable or could we generate an angel? Lewis Wolpert; 6. Language and life John Maynard Smith and Eoers Szthmary; 7. RNA without protein or protein without RNA? Christian de Duve; 8. What is life?: Was Schroedinger right? Stuart A. Kauffman; 9. Why do we need a new physics of the mind? Roger Penrose; 10. Do the laws of nature evolve? Walter Thirring; 11. New laws to be expected in the organism: synergetics of brain and behaviour,J. A. Scott Kelso and Herman Haken; 12. Order from disorder: the thermodynamics of complexity in biology Eric D. Schneider and James J. Kay; 13. Reminiscences Ruth Braunizer.


'... a thought provoking book...'. Science and Christian Belief 'Given the galaxy of contributors it could hardly fail. It hasn't... a stimulating book.' A. G. Cairns-Smith, Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 'The authors are among the most illustrious and distinguished scientists of today ... an enjoyable ... journey through the outer reaches of biology.' Robert Foley, Annals of Human Genetics '... if you want one slim book that contains as many stimulating ideas as a small library, this is it.' Alan Anderson, New Scientist

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