This highly interdisciplinary book discusses the phenomenon of life, including its origin and evolution (and also human cultural evolution), against the background of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Among the central themes is the seeming contradiction between the second law of thermodynamics and the high degree of order and complexity produced by living systems. This paradox has its resolution in the information content of the Gibbs free energy that enters the biosphere from outside sources, as the author shows. The role of information in human cultural evolution is another focus of the book. One of the final chapters discusses the merging of information technology and biotechnology into a new discipline — bio-information technology.
Pioneers of Evolutionary Thought
Charles Darwin's Life and Work
Molecular Biology and Evolution
Statistical Mechanics and Information
Information Flow in Biology
Cultural Evolution and Information
Looking Towards the Future
Readership: General; scientists interested in evolution, bioinformatics and molecular biology.
"The book's nine well-organized and solidly researched chapters begin with two chapters that introduce evolutionary thought through the work of Darwin ... Thoughtfully constructed index."