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What is Life?: With Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches. (Anglais) Broché – 29 mars 2012

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

'This book is a gem with many facets … one can read it in a few hours; one will not forget it in a lifetime.' Scientific American

'Erwin Schrödinger, iconoclastic physicist, stood at the pivotal point of history when physics was the midwife of the new science of molecular biology. In these little books he set down, clearly and concisely, most of the great conceptual issues that confront the scientist who would attempt to unravel the mysteries of life. This combined volume should be compulsory reading for all students who are seriously concerned with truly deep issues of science.' Paul Davies

'… this remains a classic, written with great insight and modesty …' Human Nature Review --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.6 étoiles sur 5 90 commentaires
106 internautes sur 111 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not leading edge, but a highly readable classic. 26 août 2002
Par Earl Dennis - Publié sur
Format: Broché
It is not surprising that a genius would have interesting things to say. Physicist Erwin Schrodinger was an affable genius whose comments about life, molecular biology, mind, qualia, and a number of topics are interesting and relevant even today.
This edition of 'What is Life?' by Cambridge University Press also contains Schrodinger's essay entitled 'Mind and Matter,' along with some autobiographical notes. What is Life? is a well paced 1944 version of molecular genetics that is still valid today. Crick and Watson didn't discover the structure of DNA til 1953, so Schrodinger didn't know of replisomes and error correcting polymerase III, but this essay shows how well developed molecular biology was by this time. Crick and Watson were certainly in the right place at the right time by clearing up a minor bottleneck in the broader science of molecular genetics. Mainly what Schrodinger, the formulator of the quantum mechanical wave equation of atoms, wants to accomplish is to reconcile quantum effects with biology. What is Life? makes an excellent synthesis of quantum physics and biology. Where modern scientists like physicist Roger Penrose and chemist Graham Cairns-Smith fail at this correlation Schrodinger is eminently successful. Although this essay is somewhat dated it is stimulating and rewarding to read.
The second essay entitled 'Mind and Matter' written in 1956 is very similar to modern efforts in describing abstract neuro and cognitive science. It tackles many of the same topics as moderns Daniel Dennett, Gerald Edelman, and Antonio Damasio do. Schrodinger artfully blends the idealism of Schopenhauer with his own personal physicist's point of view and crafts a perfectly enjoyable, reflective discussion on the concept of mind. I actually enjoyed Mind and Matter more than What is Life? as it showed the intellectual range of Schrodinger better. His discussion of what he calls objectivation, or how the subjective and objective dynamics of the scientific observer influence one another was great.
Lastly, a brief selection of Schrodinger's writing about his own life rounds out this brief, thoughtful collection of essays by a world class scientist. This relaxing little book still exhibits the ability to invoke serious thought about the nature of life and the implications of consciousness.
43 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Book connects the hard sciences to the life sciences. 23 avril 1997
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
What Is Life?
Erwin Schrodinger

This book is the compilation of a series of lectures by a Nobel Luareate in quantum physics and attempts to reconcile the biological requirements of living cells to the probabalistic nature of the atom as defined by quantum mechanics. These lectures were originally give in the 1940's and 50's prior to the discovery of DNA, RNA, gene mapping, and other techniques taken for granted by today's biologists.

The basic tenant of quantum physics is that all atomic structure can be described only by the mathematics of probability. The exact orbit of an electron or its velocity cannot be determined. One can only state the probability of the location or velocity. Protons and neutrons are thought to change back and forth into one another in a random fashion. The very process of physical measurement introduces errors which preclude accurate measurements. This is modern physics - random events governed by probabilities.

Compare this to the biology of living cells. Genetics reproduce specific inherited characteristic for generations. Why does the random atomic behavior not interrupt or change genetic traits? How does humanity think logically using randomly behaving atoms and hence molecules and compounds?

This little book attempts and succeeds in theoretically reconciling these two worlds. The author predicts the structure of DNA. He anticipates current studies in how small numbers of randomly acting atoms are constrained to be deterministic. In the latter lectures, he enters the world of metaphysics to discuss "Mind and Matter, Determinism and Free Will, Ethics, and Science and Religion."

This book is less than 300 pages long, but encylopic in scope. Be warned that it must be savored to be understood. It cannot be speed read nor can it be read only once to be understood.

Finally, two much later in time companion books are "The Quantum Self" and "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" expand the concepts presented by this book. Both are available from Amazon.

Joseph I. Schwartz,
April 23, 1997
51 internautes sur 59 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Scaled up quantum theory that tries... 20 janvier 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Broché
...and almost succeeds in uniting the dissimilar worlds of Biochemistry/cellular mechanics with the subatomic and atomic worlds. Undoubtedly if this book (series of essays/thoughts/lectures) had been written twenty years later, it would be quite different, but as is, it makes some startlingly accurate predictions about the nature of heredity in biological systems. This book is NOT 'quantum mechanics explains life', it is however, the masterwork of one of quantum theories brightest stars, relating the abstract world of subatomic particles to, well, DNA, before anyone knew what it did. Alas, for poor Schrodinger, probabalistic interpretation is much less useful at such a macroscopic level, and the mathematics behind even 'good approximations' of VERY SMALL macromolecules are nearly infinitely more complex than those for, say helium, which cannot be solved exactly (too many variables) itself. But he knew that already, and shows it here. But regardless of any 'after-the-fact' criticism, Schrodinger built something palpable and incredible out of scaling and deduction from the quantum level up. The fact that he struck so close to the mark speaks volumes for the man and for quantum theory in general. Biology is rather more difficult to quantify with wave equations than an alpha particle...not that Schrodinger attempts such an undertaking here, but the point should be understood as pertaining to his background, at least. At any rate, this book is probably not the most pedestrian work one could find on the subject, nor the easiest read. It is however, some awfully foresighted ideas about nature, and is heartily recomended reading for anyone with an in-depth knowledge of biology and chemistry (quantum chemistry/physics would be a good *background* course here), and should be required reading for any molecular biology/biochemistry regimen. This book deserves five stars, and if it wasn't for that article in the late fifties that used quantum tunneling theory to dispute the fact that DNA could be the genetic material of the cell, (not authored by Schrodinger, but using an extension of his ideas, as in most quantum computation) it would have gotten them. Barring that, this is, to my knowledge, the best book about life ever written by a physicist, and contains philosophical insight befitting the greatest sages and philosophers. Or Dr. Schrodinger.
26 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Something to really look forward to, enjoy. 11 avril 2002
Par Frank Bierbrauer - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This book is actually three essays in one book. The first is the essay of the title, the second a more metaphysical description called "Mind and Matter" and the last an excerpt of his own autobiography, notes rather than life in detail.
The first of these considers the possibility of science, as it stands at Schrodinger's time, answering the question of the title. Naturally such a question can now be asked since the universe has gradually become a mechanical one with life a great mystery since mechanical descriptions cannot describe life as we experience it. This was not always the case, certainly not before the 15th Century or so when the mystery had to do with the mechanical rather than the living aspects of the world.
So Schrodinger is able to ask this, the most fundamental of all the major questions in his and our time. Throughout the first essay he attempts to answer this not directly but rather through what science can tell us about the process that a living creature must undergo as part of its life cycle ie how is the being able to reproduce itself, where does this information reside etc. He discusses inheritance and the Darwinian explanation available in his time, which of course did not yet know of the DNA molecule. It appears at first that this is no more than a standard approach to these questions and lacks any new insights but this is a mistaken assumption and an in depth reading leaves no doubt that Schrodinger thinks science does not and cannot describe life truly using its current approach. I leave the potential reader to discover this for him/herself.
The second of these essays is far more metaphysical in character although schrodinger, a hardnosed scientist, does not waffle or procrastinate, he looks at things without sentimentality or any of the fantasies now current in the more "out there" new age mysticism. Schrodinger leaves no doubt that science again is not able to really discover what the mind is or how perception truly arises from any form of mechanism.
In the last of his essays he talks about his own life and a wonderful adventure it is. Schrodinger rather than being the epitome of the rational scientist lacking in feeling, as the commonly held assumption tells, writes with great joy and style.
Something to really look forward to, enjoy.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Must Reading for the Intelligent Reader 3 février 2001
Par Diego Banducci - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Schroedinger, one of the great physicists of the 20th Century, applied the knowledge he gained in his own discipline to analyze human life. Based upon lectures that he gave in the 1940s, this brief book contains Schroedinger's fascinating speculations on the nature of life, several of which have proven prophetic (including the discovery of DNA). The reader comes away with the joy of having shared in the workings of a great mind.

Perhaps the most impressive achievement of the book is that it can be readily understood by persons relatively untrained in science or mathematics.
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