Synopses & Reviews
Erwin Schrödinger'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 Schrödinger 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 Schrödinger'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 Schrödinger'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.
"...if you want one slim book that contains as many stimulating ideas as a small library, this is it." New Scientist"An absolute benefit of such a format is that the authors share with us thoughts that would not appear in their more scientific papers. We are treated, therefore, to a spectrum of viewpoints...this is an exciting collection of thoughtful essays, which are guaranteed to be engaging and stimulating." Thomas W. Traut, American Scientist"...an informative and clarifying review of some of the most challenging questions of current biological science. The editors should be credited for their initiative, as well as for excellent editorial work. It has resulted in a very thought-provoking book that is certainly accessible to a wide audience....worthwhile reading for those who want to broaden their view of life." Börge Ekstig, Quarterly Review of Biology"...a volume very much in keeping with the spirit of Schrödinger's work, both in its treatment of grand themes and in its application to biology of ideas from physics. It contains some excellent summaries of some exciting areas of biology, pitched at a popular level, and should command a wide readership." Danny Yee, on the World Wide Web"WHhat is Life?: The Next Fiftey Years is insightful and though-provoking, highly recommended reading for both the professional biology student, and the non-specialist general reader." James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review
At Trinity College, Dublin, a number of outstanding scientists from a range of disciplines gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Erwin Schrodinger's book WHAT IS LIFE? Following Schrodinger's example of 50 years ago, members of the group present their views on the current central problems in biology. A revealing work that takes readers to the cutting-edge of current biological issues.
Presents the views of eminent scientists on current problems in biology.
Erwin Schrödingerâs 1943 book What is Life? was tremendously influential on the development of molecular biology. The Next Fifty Years presents the views of eminent scientists on current problems in biology. This collection is essential reading for anyone interested in biology and its future.
The Nobel prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger wrote a celebrated book What is Life? He speculated on the central problems in biology, from the perspective of a physicist. The unique viewpoint outlined in his book stimulated many other scientists to explore biological problems. The investigations of these scientists led to the discovery of the structure of DNA and an understanding of how our genes work. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of What is Life? , a number of eminent scientists have outlined their viewpoints on the central problems currently facing biology. The book is essential reading for all biological scientists, but is also of considerable interest to non-specialists with an interest in science. The list of contributors includes some of the best known popular science writers such as Stephen Jay Gould, Roger Penrose, Jared Diamond, John Maynard Smith and Lewis Wolpert. '...if you want one slim book that contains as many stimulating ideas as a small library, this is it.' Alun Anderson, New Scientist
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 Eörs Szthmáry; 7. RNA without protein or protein without RNA? Christian de Duve; 8. What is life?: Was Schrödinger 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.