What is Life - Reviews:

by Erwin Schrodinger (Austrian Physicist - Nobel Prize in Physics 1933)

Editorial Reviews

"One of the great science classics of the 20th century.... This is the book that provided the inspiration that gave birth to molecular biology and the discovery of DNA." Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology "...delightful...Schrödinger writes in a naturally relaxed and pleasant tone that leads us through the difficulties of his subject...It is well worth the trouble. For the serious student of origin-of-life theories, it is the obvious place to start." The Boston Book Review

Book Description
Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger's What is Life? is one of the great science classics of the twentieth century. 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 eluded and puzzled philosophers since the earliest times. Schrodinger asks what place consciousness occupies in the evolution of life, and what part the state of development of the human mind plays in moral questions. Brought together with these two classics are Schrödinger's autobiographical sketches, published and translated here for the first time. They offer a fascinating fragmentary account of his life as a background to his scientific writings, making this volume a valuable additon to the shelves of scientist and layman alike.


The Classical Physicist's Approach to the Subject
The Hereditary Mechanism
The Quantum-Mechanical Evidence
Delbruck's Model Discussed and Tested
Order, Disorder and Entropy
Is life Based on the Laws of Physics?
Mind and Matter
Autobiographical Sketches

Readership: General; Scientists, Layperson.

"This book shows how a real genius works and thinks, not just Physics but all dimensions of the science. In this book, although Schroedinger claims that he is not an expert in this field of Science he is certainly playing humble. He starts with the question, Why human beings have to be so big relative to Atoms, continues with Statistical concepts of Quantum Theory and than comes to the conclusion that the Genes really does not obey to statistical rules and therefore the life is stable and mutations are rare. In the second half of the book he goes into Philosophy and covers Mind and Matter. In the beginning he states that "The world is a construct of our sensations, perceptions, memories" I found this very interesting. Schroedinger provides very nice interpretation of entropy Concept and Statistical formulas."

Hacibey, May 2001