Thursday, February 07, 2013

70 Years Of Schrodinger's "What Is Life?" Lectures

If you were not alive 70 years ago, this news article provides a very good summary of the landmark set of lectures by Erwin Schrodinger on a surprising topic for a physicists - What is Life?

One of Schrödinger's key aims was to explain how living things apparently defy the second law of thermodynamics – according to which all order in the universe tends to break down. It was this that led my colleague Professor Brian Cox to use Schrödinger as the starting point of his BBC series Wonders of Life, leading to What is Life? shooting up the Amazon sales chart.

But Schrödinger's book contains something far more important than his attempt to fuse physics and biology. In that lecture 70 years ago, he introduced some of the most important concepts in the history of biology, which continue to frame how we see life.

I'm wondering if many crackpots and creationists got the idea of the evolution of life violating the 2nd law from this lecture. It might easily be the impetus for such misinformation to be passed on.

Anyhow, this is a very good news article to get a brief idea on that monumental lecture in the history of science.


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