This highly unusual book began as a serious inquiry into Schrödinger's question, “What is life?”, and as a celebration of life itself. It takes the reader on a voyage of discovery through many areas of contemporary physics, from non-equilibrium thermodynamics and quantum optics to liquid crystals and fractals, all necessary for illuminating the problem of life. In the process, the reader is treated to a rare and exquisite view of the organism, gaining novel insights not only into the physics, but also into “the poetry and meaning of being alive.”
This much-enlarged third edition includes new findings on the central role of biological water in organizing living processes; it also completes the author's novel theory of the organism and its applications in ecology, physiology and brain science.Contents:
- What Is It to Be Alive?
- Do Organisms Contravene the Second Law?
- Can the Second Law Cope with Organized Complexity?
- Energy Flow and Living Cycles
- How to Catch a Falling Electron
- Towards a Thermodynamics of Organised Complexity
- Sustainable Systems as Organisms
- The Seventy-Three Octaves of Nature's Music
- Coherent Excitations of the Body Electric
- The Solid-State Cell
- 'Life is a Little Electric Current'
- How Coherent Is the Organism? The Heartbeat of Health
- How Coherent Is the Organism? Sensitivity to Weak Electromagnetic Fields
- Life is All the Colors of the Rainbow in a Worm
- The Liquid Crystalline Organism
- Crystal Consciousness
- Liquid Crystalline Water
- Quantum Entanglement and Coherence
- Ignorance of the External Observer
- Time and Freewill
Readership: Sixth-form and undergraduate students in physics and biology; biophysics, biochemistry and quantum mechanics undergraduates.
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