What Is Life? With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches

ISBN-10: 1107604664
ISBN-13: 9781107604667
Edition: 2012
List price: $22.95
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Description: Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger's What is Life? is one of the great science classics of the twentieth century. It was written for the layman, but proved to be one of the spurs to the birth of molecular biology and the subsequent discovery of DNA.  More...

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Book details

List price: $22.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 3/26/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 184
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger's What is Life? is one of the great science classics of the twentieth century. It was written for the layman, but proved to be one of the spurs to the birth of molecular biology and the subsequent discovery of DNA. What is Life? appears here together with Mind and Matter, his essay investigating a relationship which has eluded and puzzled philosophers since the earliest times. Brought together with these two classics are Schrödinger's autobiographical sketches, which offer a fascinating account of his life as a background to his scientific writings.

Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm. He spent his childhood in Munich where his family owned a small machine shop. By the age of twelve, Einstein had taught himself Euclidean Geometry. His family moved to Milan, where he stayed for a year, and he used it as an excuse to drop out of school, which bored him. He finished secondary school in Aarau, Switzerland and entered the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Einstein graduated in 1900, by studying the notes of a classmate since he did not attend his classes out of boredom, again. His teachers did not like him and would not recomend him for a position in the University. For two years, Einstein worked as a substitute teacher and a tutor before getting a job, in 1902, as an examiner for a Swiss patent office in Bern. In 1905, he received his doctorate from the University of Zurich for a theoretical dissertation on the dimension of molecules. Einstein also published three theoretical papers of central importance to the development of 20th Century physics. The first was entitled "Brownian Motion," and the second "Photoelectric Effort," which was a revolutionary way of thinking and contradicted tradition. No one accepted the proposals of the first two papers. Then the third one was published in 1905 and called "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies." Einstein's words became what is known today as the special theory of relativity and said that the physical laws are the same in all inertial reference systems and that the speed of light in a vacuum is a universal constant. Virtually no one understood or supported Einstein's argument. Einstein left the patent office in 1907 and received his first academic appointment at the University of Zurich in 1909. In 1911, he moved to a German speaking university in Prague, but returned to Swiss National Polytechnic in Zurich in 1912. By 1914, Einstein was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics in Berlin. His chief patron in those early days was German physicist Max Planck and lent much credibility to Einstein's work. Einstein began working on generalizing and extending his theory of relativity, but the full general theory was not published until 1916. In 1919, he predicted that starlight would bend in the vicinity of a massive body, such as the sun. This theory was confirmed during a solar eclipse and cause Einstein to become world renowned after the phenomenon. Einstein received be Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. With his new fame, Einstein attempted to further his own political and social views. He supported pacifism and Zionism and opposed Germany's involvement in World War I. His support of Zionism earned him attacks from both Anti-Semitic and right wing groups in Germany. Einstein left Germany for the United States when Hitler came into power, taking a position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Once there, he renounced his stand on pacifism in the face of Nazi rising power. In 1939 he collaborated with other physicists in writing a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt informing him of the possibility that the Nazis may in fact be attempting to create an atomic bomb. The letter bore only Einstein's signature but lent credence to the letter and spurred the U.S. race to create the bomb first. Einstein became an American citizen in 1940. After the war, Einstein was active in international disarmament as well as world government. He was offered the position of President of Israel but turned the honor down. Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955 in Princeton, New Jersey.Born in England, the son of a geneticist, Roger Penrose received a Ph.D. in 1957 from Cambridge University. Penrose then became a professor of applied mathematics at Birkbeck College in 1966 and a Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University in 1973. Penrose, a mathematician and theoretical physicist, has done much to elucidate the fundamental properties of black holes. With Stephen Hawking, Penrose proved a theorem of Albert Einstein's general relativity, asserting that at the center of a black hole there must evolve a "space-time singularity" of zero volume and infinite density, in which the current laws of physics do not apply. He also proposed the hypothesis of "cosmic censorship," which claims that such singularities must possess an event horizon. In 1969 Penrose described a process for the extraction of energy from a black hole, as well as how rotational energy of the black hole is transferred to a particle outside the hole. In addition, Penrose has done much to develop the mathematics needed to unite general relativity, which deals with the gravitational interactions of matter, and quantum mechanics, which describes all other interactions.

What is Life?
Preface
The Classical Physicist's Approach to the Subject
The general character and the purpose of the investigation
Statistical physics. The fundamental difference in structure
The naive physicist's approach to the subject
Why are the atoms so small?
The working of an organism requires exact physical laws
Physical laws rest on atomic statistics and are therefore only approximate
Their precision is based on the large number of atoms intervening, 1st example (paramagnetism)
2nd example (Brownian movement, diffusion)
3rd example (limits of accuracy of measuring)
The √n rule
The Hereditary Mechanism
The classical physicist's expectation, far from being trivial, is wrong
The hereditary code-script (chromosomes)
Growth of the body by cell division (mitosis)
In mitosis every chromosome is duplicated
Reductive division (meiosis) and fertilization (syngamy)
Haploid individuals
The outstanding relevance of the reductive division
Crossing-over. Location of properties
Maximum size of a gene
Small numbers
Permanence
Mutations
'Jump-like' mutations - the working-ground of natural selection
They breed true, i.e. they are perfectly inherited
Localization. Recessivity and Dominance
Introducing some technical language
The harmful effect of close-breeding
General and historical remarks
The necessity of mutation being a rare event
Mutations induced by X-rays
First law. Mutation is a single event
Second law. Localization of the event
The Quantum
Mechanical Evidence
Permanence unexplainable by classical physics
Explicable by quantum theory
Quantum theory - discrete states -quantum jumps
Molecules
Their stability dependent on temperature
Mathematical interlude
First amendment
Second amendment
Delbr�ck's Model Discussed and Tested
The general picture of the hereditary substance
The uniqueness of the picture
Some traditional misconceptions
Different 'states' of matter
The distinction that really matters
The aperiodic solid
The variety of contents compressed in the miniature code
Comparison with facts: degree of stability; discontinuity of mutations
Stability of naturally selected genes
The sometimes lower stability of mutants
Temperature influences unstable genes less than stable ones
How X-rays produce mutation
Their efficiency does not depend on spontaneous mutability
Reversible mutations
Order, Disorder and Entropy
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
Organization maintained by extracting 'order' from the environment
Is Life Based on the Laws of Physics? 76
New laws to be expected in the organism
Reviewing the biological situation
Summarizing the physical situation
The striking contrast
Two ways of producing orderliness
The new principle is not alien to physics
The motion of a clock
Clockwork after all statistical
Nernst's Theorem
The pendulum clock is virtually at zero temperature
The relation between clockwork and organism
Epilogue. On Determinism and Free Will 86
Mind and Matter
The Physical Basis of Consciousness
The problem
A tentative answer
Ethics
The Future of Understanding
A biological blind alley?
The apparent gloom of Darwinism
Behaviour influences selection
Feigned Lamarckism
Genetic fixation of habits and skills
Dangers to intellectual evolution
The Principle of Objectivation
the arithmetical paradox: the oneness of mind
Science and Religion
The Mystery of the Sensual Qualities I53
Autobiographical Sketches 165
Translated by Schr�dinger's granddaughter Verena

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