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- WHAT IS LIFE? - ERWIN SCHRODINGER
- WHAT IS LIFE? ERWIN SCHRODINGER First published 1944
- Physics Must Evolve Beyond the Physical
- What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches
WHAT IS LIFE? - ERWIN SCHRODINGER
What is Life? Another document will propose additional ideas needed to account for evolution of various kinds of intelligence, especially spatial intelligence leading up to ancient mathematical discoveries in geometry and topology that cannot be explained by current neural or computational theories.
A link to it will later be placed here. Both versions are derived from the edition of the book, which was reprinted several times up to Curiously that edition was divided into chapters, but also used section numbers, that continued consecutively across the chapter boundaries.
For example, Chapter VI in the edition begins with Section 54! The collection of extracts below follows that structure. My comments are inserted where they are relevant, and made to stand out by being indented and coloured blue.
Portions of the text were chosen for inclusion here because they seemed to be potentially relevant to the Meta-Morphogenesis project. There is a later edition that was printed in a different format and did not use the section numbers and also included a second book, Mind and Matter , originally published in The combined reprint is What is life? At that time computer-based text production did not exist. Perhaps that realisation was his real reason for studying Alchemy?
A link will be added here when it is ready. Permanence unexplainable by classical physics Explicable by quantum theory First amendment The uniqueness of the picture Some traditional misconceptions Different states of matter The distinction that really matters Comparison with facts: degree of stability; discontinuity of mutations Stability of naturally selected genes Temperature influences unstable genes less than stable ones How x-rays produce mutation Their efficiency does not depend on spontaneous mutability A remarkable general conclusion from the model Order based on order Living matter evades the decay to equilibrium It feeds on 'negative entropy' What is entropy?
The statistical meaning of entropy So his ideas are important for anyone trying to understand how life as we know it is possible in this physical universe.
Other consequences of these mechanisms, including mechanisms required for spatial reasoning and mathematical discoveries, will be discussed in a separate document, to be linked from here later. Although he focused mainly on explaining successful biological reproduction, i.
For more on the importance of epigenesis especially cognitive development within an organism, as opposed to initiation of a new organism see the Meta-Configured Genome project work done with Jackie Chappell, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham. More details will be provided in a separate paper to be referenced here later. Different DCKs are clearly used in the development of organisms of different types, e.
They all make use of strings of molecules to encode information required for production of a new individuals not necessarily identical with the parent , but they differ enormously in the many types of physical material and physical structure produced during individual development and the many types of control required both during development of an organism and later during the behaviours of the fully formed organism e.
These developments in human modes of thinking and explaining, arise out of aspects of intelligence, especially spatial intelligence, in some non-human intelligent species e. I suspect Alan Turing was investigating similar ideas around the time of his death. Cooper and J. There are several problems. First the second law of thermodynamics states that complex systems will become increasingly disordered, whereas the opposite is true of individual living things and life in general, which becomes increasingly complex and ordered as a result of biological evolution.
Part of the explanation is very familiar: since neither the earth, nor any individual organism on the earth is an isolated physical system, external sources of energy, including solar energy, heat energy from the earth's core, and chemical energy can counter the tendency to increased entropy for some entities on the planet. But that does not explain the origins or persistence of increasingly complex and detailed structures, that are required to preserve biological information during the development of an organism, during many interactions with other things in the environment including some high-impact interactions and during reproductive processes across many generations.
The basic problem is how the genetic information is preserved both within an individual during the complexities of development and across individuals over generations. Added 20 Nov The problem includes explaining how the genetic information actually works , in particular how the information encoded chemically in the genome controls very detailed development processes required to produce all the enormously complex forms of life on this planet, including not only an astronomically huge variety of physical forms, physical behaviours, and changes in physical form and physical behaviour across the lifetime of each individual, but, less obviously, also produces very complex self-modifying information-based control mechanisms within each living individual, from single celled organisms to organisms as varied, as fungi, bacteria including the bacteria that live in the gut of each human , grasses, giant redwood trees, and an enormous variety of mobile animals as different as ants, butterflies, apes, squirrels, elephants, humans and octopuses.
A secondary question is how so much new complexity evolves over time -- which Darwin and Wallace suggested could be explained by a mixture of variation possibly random variation of heritable features and natural selection. ES provides an answer to the question about survival by pointing out that although quantum theory implies that physical processes essentially involve statistical patterns of change and are therefore not deterministic, it also implies that there can be structures that are in stable states because, although they are capable of switching to new states, they are very unlikely to do so, unless affected by a sufficiently high energy impulse.
That allows quantum mechanics to support not only indeterminism, but also long term determinism. Energy levels Moreover if a physical structure is in stable state S1 it may be capable of having another stable state S2, which may be at either a higher or a lower level energy state, or the same level as the original state. The states are stable because the transition from one to the other, or from one of them to some other state requires a minimum energy packet to "get over a hump", because all the intermediate states require provision of more energy to the system than the energy in the initial and final states.
Many human-designed mechanisms use this feature, for example, a box with a liftable hinged lid that is stable when shut and also when opened and folded back, like some dustbin lids. In that case gravity provides the force that has to be overcome to move the lid from one stable state to another.
Many engineering designs depend on multi-stability, including the combination of springs and levers that allow a heavy hinged item, such as a car boot trunk lid to be held safely i.
As it moves up or down springs are stretched or released, and when stretched they hold potential energy. When the lid is fully open gravity alone does not suffice to pull it down past the closest maximum energy peak. In some cases, instead of two or more fixed stable states a mechanism can allow collections of states each of which allows free motion, within that state e. An example using this is a flat tray that has grooves and circular hollows on it, and a marble that can move horizontally on the tray, while kept on the tray by the earth's gravitational pull.
If the marble falls into one of the hollows or grooves, a small impulse can cause it to move around freely in the hollow or groove, but a much larger impulse is required to allow the marble to jump to one of the other depressed parts of the tray, e. How long a marble will resist being jolted out of a groove or hollow will depend on how deep the groove or hollow is, and how powerful the jolts are. More on Ratchets Added 9 May Ratchet mechanisms used in clocks and watches also illustrate this.
There are many variations on the basic idea, with video demonstrations available online, showing how the natural Newtonian frequency of a pendulum or or spring-loaded oscillator controls the timing of discrete "bits" of rotation, of a mechanism driving the clock-hands. He showed how devices made of bits of wood, springs and hinges that could be shaken around on a tray, demonstrated some of the features of feeding, growth, and a-sexual reproduction.
He called them "droguli". The above examples are partly analogous to the situation ES describes in which a molecule composed of several atoms may have two stable states which differ only in the location of one of the atoms. Figure Isomers Two molecules with the same types of atoms connected differently Each may be stable in the absence of a disruptive external influence E.
Each state is stable because all their neighbouring states have more energy, so the change to a neighbouring state cannot occur without an external source of energy. If a sufficiently energetic impulse is received it can push the molecule over the energy "hump" and into another stable state.
This example is used in section 39 of the book, as the basis of several deep observations relevant to biological evolution. In Chapter VII, ES discusses additional questions about the increasing complexity and variety of products of evolution and how that can be reconciled with what we know about the physical universe.
Unfortunately, in the PDF version of this document the indentation has somehow been lost, but the blue colour should suffice to indicate an inserted comment. Many detailed technical sections of the text, and all mathematical sections, are omitted, in order to make this easy for a non-expert to read. I have also occasionally inserted paragraph breaks to help the reader.
After drawing attention to some biological phenomena and a background of physical laws, ES summarises puzzling biological phenomena that he wishes to show can be understood in the framework of Quantum mechanics but not previous physical theories e. Newtonian mechanics augmented by statistical mechanics.
By the time the book was published there was already evidence that biological genetic information was stored and transmitted in extended chemical structures, and it was assumed that parts of those structures could specify particular inherited features.
ES emphasises the fact that in some cases of biological inheritance, a particular unusual feature, which may be a product of a small portion of the genetic material can persist across several generations. He takes the "Habsburg lip" as an example. The reliable transfer of a special feature across several reproductive episodes, each involving the development of a whole human from a fertilized egg cries out for explanation, as would preservation and replication of a triangular shape drawn in sand across Saharan sand dunes.
I think it is fair to say that the latter is impossible. ES tries to show what's special about genetic material that makes reproduction and preservation of detailed structure possible across even more complex disruptive processes than sand-storms. But he also tries to bring out why that is such a remarkable achievement and why it would have been impossible to explain on the basis of pre-quantum physics.
For example, life as we know it would not have been possible in a universe composed of Newtonian point masses with mutual gravitational attraction. I think Newton noticed this limitation of "Newtonian" mechanics, but I am not a Newton-scholar. A few neural researchers have been making this point, e. Grant and Trettenbrein NOTE In another document I have tried to show the importance for science of discoveries and explanations of possibilities , as opposed to discoveries and explanations of laws.
Sloman are in italics, using a blue font and indented PREFACE A scientist is supposed to have a complete and thorough knowledge, at first hand, of some subjects and, therefore, is usually expected not to write on any topic of which he is not a life master. This is regarded as a matter of noblesse oblige.
For the present purpose I beg to renounce the noblesse, if any, and to be freed of the ensuing obligation. My excuse is as follows: We have inherited from our forefathers the keen longing for unified, all-embracing knowledge. We feel clearly that we are only now beginning to acquire reliable material for welding together the sum total of all that is known into a whole; but, on the other hand, it has become next to impossible for a single mind fully to command more than a small specialized portion of it.
I can see no other escape from this dilemma lest our true who aim be lost for ever than that some of us should venture to embark on a synthesis of facts and theories, albeit with second-hand and incomplete knowledge of some of them--and at the risk of making fools of ourselves. The large and important and very much discussed question is: How can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?
The preliminary answer which this little book will endeavor to expound and establish can be summarized as follows: The obvious inability of present-day physics and chemistry to account for such events is no reason at all for doubting that they can be accounted for by those sciences.
Note added 20 Nov I would like to highlight that comment, written nearly a century ago, by repeating it here: The obvious inability of present-day physics and chemistry to account for such events is no reason at all for doubting that they can be accounted for by those sciences. But there are still many gaps in our knowledge, in particular knowledge about exactly how the mechanisms of fundamental physics are used in processes of reproduction and development, including, for example the abilities of eggs of chickens and of crocodiles of their own accord to reassemble their molecular contents so as to produce in one case a young chick with beak and feathers, and in the other case a four legged, long-tailed, multi-toothed crocodile, both of which continue to change, in size, shape, capabilities, and behaviours, of their own accord after hatching, in processes that make use of chemicals derived from disassembled food acquired in the environment.
WHAT IS LIFE? ERWIN SCHRODINGER First published 1944
Contemporary physics finds itself pondering questions about mind and consciousness, an uncomfortable area for theorists. But historically, key figures at the founding of quantum theory assumed that reality was composed of two parts, mind and matter, which interacted with each other according to some new laws that they specified. This departure from the prior classical-physicalist assumption that mind was a mere side effect of brain activity was such a startling proposal that it basically split physics in two, with one camp insisting that mind will ultimately be explained via physical processes in the brain and the other camp embracing mind as innate in creation and the key to understanding reality in its completeness. He was left, however, with a dualist view in which the psychological and physical aspects of QM remained unresolved. Modern physics speaks in the language of advanced mathematics, which makes it nearly impossible for an outsider to penetrate the discussion over vital issues at the heart of science.
Jetzt bewerten Jetzt bewerten. Nobel laureate Erwin Schrodinger's What is Life? A distinguished physicist's exploration of the question which lies at the heart of biology, it was written for the layman, but proved one of the spurs to the birth of molecular biology and the subsequent discovery of the structure of DNA. The philosopher Karl Popper hailed it as a 'beautiful and important book' by 'a great man to whom I owe a personal debt for many exciting discussions'. It appears here together with Mind and Matter, his essay investigating a relationship which has …mehr.
Physics Must Evolve Beyond the Physical
Download What Is Life? During the s, this thought animated excitement for discovering the hereditary particle and would give both Francis Crick and James Watson beginning motivation in their examination. It is a work of art. Regardless of the new progressions in hereditary qualities that override a portion of the thoughts tended to, this book stays essential to science and for anybody with an enthusiasm for science, material science, and chemistry. This offers an incredible finale, with a philosophical discourse managing cognizance, through and through freedom and determinism.
What is Life? Another document will propose additional ideas needed to account for evolution of various kinds of intelligence, especially spatial intelligence leading up to ancient mathematical discoveries in geometry and topology that cannot be explained by current neural or computational theories. A link to it will later be placed here.
Please type in your email address in order to receive an email with instructions on how to reset your password. A distinguished physicist's exploration of the question which lies at the heart of biology, it was written for the layman, but proved one of the spurs to the birth of molecular biology and the subsequent discovery of the structure of DNA. The philosopher Karl Popper hailed it as a 'beautiful and important book' by 'a great man to whom I owe a personal debt for many exciting discussions.
Перед сердечным приступом мистер Танкадо не почувствовал ничего, кроме легкого укола. - Травматическая пуля, - задумчиво повторил Беккер.
What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches
Но я уже забронировала номер, обиженно сказала Сьюзан. - Нашу старую комнату в Стоун-Мэнор. - Я понимаю, но… - Сегодня у нас особый день - мы собирались отметить шесть месяцев. Надеюсь, ты помнишь, что мы помолвлены. - Сьюзан - вздохнул он - Я не могу сейчас об этом говорить, внизу ждет машина.
А не альфа-группы. Ключ к шифру-убийце - это число. - Но, сэр, тут висячие строки. Танкадо - мастер высокого класса, он никогда не оставил бы висячие строки, тем более в таком количестве. Эти висячие строки, или сироты, обозначают лишние строки программы, никак не связанные с ее функцией. Они ничего не питают, ни к чему не относятся, никуда не ведут и обычно удаляются в процессе окончательной проверки и антивирусной обработки. Джабба взял в руки распечатку.
Я тоже хочу. На завтрашний день, пожалуйста. - Ваш брат Клаус приходил к нам? - Женщина вдруг оживилась, словно говорила со старым знакомым. - Да. Он очень толстый. Вы его запомнили.
The Dynamics of Knowledge and Reality
Увы, теперь, несмотря на силу рук, он не мог подтянуться, чтобы влезть обратно. Плечи его отчаянно болели, а грубый камень не обеспечивал достаточного захвата и впивался в кончики пальцев подобно битому стеклу. Беккер понимал, что через несколько секунд его преследователь побежит назад и с верхних ступеней сразу же увидит вцепившиеся в карниз пальцы. Он зажмурился и начал подтягиваться, понимая, что только чудо спасет его от гибели. Пальцы совсем онемели.
Их прикосновение было знакомым, но вызывало отвращение.