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What is Life? (Canto Classics)

What is Life? (Canto Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Erwin Schrodinger , Roger Penrose
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'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

Product 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. 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 17 Feb 2011
It is no surprise this book is still in print that speaks for itself. An excellent thought provoking read especially in these DNA times.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Is Life? 8 Sep 2004
By JFDerry
What Is Life?
Erwin Schrödinger
Cambridge University Press (2002)
The structure of DNA and the genetic code may have alluded us for some time more if Crick had not read Erwin Schrödinger's "What Is Life?" [1]. The research lead that Crick got by doing so was how a small set of repeating elements could give rise to a large number of combinatorial products, a mathematical relationship that Schrödinger illustrated using the Morse Code, based on an idea that he had actually got from the visionary work of Max Delbrück.
Delbrück, Schrödinger and Crick were physicists with an enthusiasm for tackling the unknown for the natural world. Crick's own motivation came directly from reading "What Is Life?" [2]. It seemed reasonable to make the cross-over as the infant field of biochemistry was bound to be governed by the same chemical and physical laws revealed in other, non-biological, disciplines. This was especially true given the progressive focus of biology on the increasingly small, until an effective convergence of scales in the studies of the biologically relevant on the biologically irrelevant. Hence the justification for Schrödinger's unspecific book title.
Although some of the notions in the book have been superseded by modern science, this remains a classic, written with great insight and modesty (Schrödinger downplays his potential as a biologist), and is worth the read if only as a portal in to the minds of those luminary workers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 30 Dec 2013
By Haseena
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book. Takes you through things very slowly and gradually and makes you very interested and willing to understand. Goes into a lot of depth and detail however, so I personally cannot read it for too long before needing to pause and process what I've read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mind boggler 17 May 2013
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A brilliant piece of deductive and scientific writing; however, the subject matter iis very deep and makes for slow reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift bought after watching TV 8 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought as a gift for my oldest son after watching Prof Brian Cox who is on my son's twitter contacts. It was his birthday yesterday and he was delighted with his gift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is Life? 22 Mar 2013
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A fascination study of the structure of living organisms from a molecular and quantum physics point of view. I also particularly enjoyed the second section of the book covering the more philosophical aspects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking 15 Mar 2013
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An enjoyable discussion on whether lithe process of life is based on the laws of physics. Although written 70 years ago it is still relevant. Would recommend to anyone with a mild interest in how the world works and scientist (creative ones) think.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Nobel prize winner's iiew - What is Life? 19 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having seen the TV series "The Wonders of Life" presented by Prof Brian Cox, I was keen to read the book that triggered the series - What is Life? by E Schrodinger. He was one of the founding fathers of wave mechanics and clearly a profound thinker.

The book was published first in 1944, and much has happened in the world of physics (and science in general) since then, as our understanding of nature has deepened. I was not disappointed.

I am grateful to the late professor for his insights, and would recommend the book most highly to those engaged in science wishing to broaden their horizons.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An eminent scientist examines consciousness
One section of this book shows a brilliant scientist exploring the mystery of the senses and of consciousness. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. Leech
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
great book why do we need to type so much ? great book great book great book great book great book is this enough words?
Published 12 months ago by jo
1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong author! Amazon's fault
I had expected a book by Brian Cox, so when my daughter brought this book by Schrödinger from London I couldn't understand how I could have ordered it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by geoffrey
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting!
One tends to forget how much has been learned in molecular biology since Schroedinger delivered his 1943 lectures on which the book was based. Therefore, it now seems naive. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Nige
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
The book arrived quickly and well packed. I purchased this book for my husband who has found the book very interesting and informative.
Published 16 months ago by scraps
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I understand!
A challenging subject clearly explained. As an elderly person things I was taught at school now become clear. Fascinating read!
Published 16 months ago by violetamy
3.0 out of 5 stars An important book but showing its age
Of historic interest .
A great physicist thinking about biology before the era of the double helix.
An interesting view of quantum theory for biologists
Published 16 months ago by Roy Spector
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