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Home > Catalogue > What is Life? The Next Fifty Years
What is Life? The Next Fifty Years


  • 6 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 204 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.47 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 574/.01
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: QH331 .W465 1995
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Biology--Philosophy--Congresses
    • Biology--Congresses
    • Life (Biology)--Congresses
    • Schrödinger, Erwin,--1887-1961.--What is life?--Congresses

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521455091 | ISBN-10: 052145509X)

DOI: 10.2277/052145509X

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:17 GMT, 24 November 2015)


Erwin Schrödinger's book What is Life? had a tremendous influence on the development of molecular biology, stimulating scientists such as Watson and Crick to explore the physical basis of life. Much of the appeal of Schrödinger's book lay in its approach to the central problems in biology - heredity and how organisms use energy to maintain order - from a physicist's perspective. At Trinity College, Dublin a number of outstanding scientists from a range of disciplines gathered to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of What is Life? and following Schrödinger's example fifty years previously, presented their views on the current central problems in biology. The contributors to this volume include Stephen Jay Gould, Roger Penrose, Jared Diamond, Manfred Eigen, John Maynard Smith, Christien de Duve and Lewis Wolpert. This collection is essential reading for anyone interested in biology and its future.

• Written by some of the most influential scientists working today • 'Sequel' to Schrödingers twentieth century science classic: What is life? • Chapters on a wide range of current biological issues • See over for review quotes of the hardback


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.


'… 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


Michael P. Murphy, Luke A. J. O'Neill, Manfred Eigen, Stephen Jay Gould, Jared Diamond, Lewis Wolpert, John Maynard Smith, Eörs Szthmáry, Christian de Duve, Stuart A. Kauffman, Roger Penrose, Walter Thirring, J. A. Scott Kelso, Herman Haken, Eric D. Schneider, James J. Kay and Ruth Braunizer.

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