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Synopsis

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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