Thursday, February 28, 2013

See: Cern Accelerating Science

A simulation of the decay of a Higgs boson in a linear collider detector. (Image courtesy of Norman Graf.)
 Colliders Unite: Linear Colliders in New Partnership

CERN Accelerating science

Question: Are Blackholes Connected by Dark Matter?

Fermi observations of dwarf galaxies provide new insights on dark matter.

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Fermi Observations of Dwarf Galaxies Provide New Insights on Dark Matter

No one knows what dark matter is, but it constitutes 80 percent of the matter in our universe. By studying numerous dwarf galaxies -- satellite systems that orbit our own Milky Way galaxy -- NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has produced some of the strongest limits yet on the nature of the hypothetical particles suspected of making up dark matter. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)
› Download this video in broadcast quality formats from NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio

Density Parameter, Ω

  You must understand that the subject in context of question has been answered to some degree. The arguments for such an idea has its basis in science discussion already. What started this was the idea of cosmic strings that were first discussed to some degree back in 2005 and confirmation reading as as to the idea of such things in the early universe. What happens in galaxy clusters versus baryon versus non baryon relations. While this is fresh in my mind in terms of how relevant this is,  is the failing connotation of a mind who reads a lot and has a hard time of putting it together in a cohesive statement being ready for such an answer to the opening question on this blog entry.

Critical Density for the Expanding Universe

The Sun lies about 8.5 kpc from the galactic center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the visible spiral arms and globular clusters extend out to about 15 kpc. Radio frequency methods should detect gas and dust past this radius, but not much is found. It was expected that the orbital velocity of that matter which is detected should diminish, but it stays more or less constant well beyond any significant detectable mass concentrations. The orbital velocity data clearly indicates the presence of gravitational mass, and the term "dark matter" is used to describe it.

 We know as well that current questions about Dark Matter will be answered soon with AMS II? So I may find this article quickly redundant as to the question raised as some effort to what has been transposing in my own mind for some time. It is not a theory or something which I would claim as to providing some basis as to explaining the why of the omega of the universe,  but to further developed my undertaker at what lies at the edge of our current information.

Can a blackhole contain information and disperse it among the way in which our universe is forming and accelerating? These perceptions for me lie at what is happening in Di-Jet resonances as feasible explanations that are important toward the undertaking of what is happening in the universe.

At the same time again it is always in corrections that scientists will further explain that such an correlation may not be a good thing to consider here and is deceiving which is never my intent. As a student ever the examination of my thinking so as to provide a better understanding for sure.

In the above list I have excluded the case of quantum black holes (where the CMS limits are in the 4 to 5.3 TeV range and the ATLAS limits are in the 3.85-4.19 TeV range) because of the lack of a coincident set of assumptions in deriving the actual results, making it less meaningful to compare numbers. See: CMS Vs ATLAS On Dijet Resonances: Who Wins ?

You must know that the ideas that were forming in my head have directed my attention toward the reducible elemental considerations of particle physics and it's manifestation a energy configurations. The essence of which is pointing me toward the latest research CMS updates and the questions of Di jet resonances that Tommaso Dorigo is talking about.

Tommaso Dorigo: A transverse cut-away view of the CMS detector is shown below, with the different signals that arise from the interaction of different particles.

I have come to rely on those scientist who are closest to what is leading in terms of experiment so as to understand not only the issue about the universe, but of what is microscopically happening in our immediate environs in terms of cosmic particle collisions.This is always an ongoing educational update for me so as to get the corrections needed in developing the ideas as they manifest, whether they are right or wrong, are leading as to the edge of where we have gone with that science.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Virtual Photons Become Real in a Vacuum

Virtual Photons Become Real in a Vacuum

The zero-point energy stored in the modes of an electromagnetic cavity has experimentally detectable effects, giving rise to an attractive interaction between the opposite walls, the static Casimir effect. A dynamical version of this effect was predicted to occur when the vacuum energy is changed either by moving the walls of the cavity or by changing the index of refraction, resulting in the conversion of vacuum fluctuations into real photons. Here, we demonstrate the dynamical Casimir effect using a Josephson metamaterial embedded in a microwave cavity at 5.4 GHz. We modulate the effective length of the cavity by flux-biasing the metamaterial based on superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs), which results in variation of a few percentage points in the speed of light. We extract the full 4 × 4 covariance matrix of the emitted microwave radiation, demonstrating that photons at frequencies symmetrical with respect to half of the modulation frequency are generated in pairs. At large detunings of the cavity from half of the modulation frequency, we find power spectra that clearly show the theoretically predicted hallmark of the Casimir effect: a bimodal, “sparrow-tail” structure. The observed substantial photon flux cannot be assigned to parametric amplification of thermal fluctuations; its creation is a direct consequence of the noncommutativity structure of quantum field theory. See: Dynamical Casimir effect in a Josephson metamaterial
  1. Pertti J. Hakonena

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What Will AMS-02 Reveal?

23% of the matter/energy balance of the universe is the form of dark matter, mysterious type of particles 6 times more abundant than normal matter which shape gravitationally all galaxies and dominates the evolution of the visible universe.Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

One would always be curious as to what motivations help to drive the expansionary process of the universe as it is unfolding. What events in the cosmos allow us to reveal constituents entities of such expansionary process as dark energy/matter particles? Well hopefully such driven place in the cosmos is revealing of such motivational  process.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cosmic Particle Creation

The husks of exploded stars produce some of the fastest particles in the cosmos. New findings by NASA's Fermi show that two supernova remnants accelerate protons to near the speed of light. The protons interact with nearby interstellar gas clouds, which then emit gamma rays. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center See:Fermi Proves Supernova Remnants Make Cosmic Rays

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Loop Production on the Sun

On July 19, 2012, an eruption occurred on the sun that produced a moderately powerful solar flare and a dazzling magnetic display known as coronal rain. Hot plasma in the corona cooled and condensed along strong magnetic fields in the region. Magnetic fields, are invisible, but the charged plasma is forced to move along the lines, showing up brightly in the extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 304 Angstroms, and outlining the fields as it slowly falls back to the solar surface See: Raining Loops on the Sun

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Supernova Remnant W49B

Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/L.Lopez et al; Infrared: Palomar; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA 

The highly distorted supernova remnant shown in this image may contain the most recent black hole formed in the Milky Way galaxy. The image combines X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue and green, radio data from the NSF's Very Large Array in pink, and infrared data from Caltech's Palomar Observatory in yellow.

The remnant, called W49B, is about a thousand years old, as seen from Earth, and is at a distance about 26,000 light years away.

The supernova explosions that destroy massive stars are generally symmetrical, with the stellar material blasting away more or less evenly in all directions. However, in the W49B supernova, material near the poles of the doomed rotating star was ejected at a much higher speed than material emanating from its equator. Jets shooting away from the star's poles mainly shaped the supernova explosion and its aftermath.

By tracing the distribution and amounts of different elements in the stellar debris field, researchers were able to compare the Chandra data to theoretical models of how a star explodes. For example, they found iron in only half of the remnant while other elements such as sulfur and silicon were spread throughout. This matches predictions for an asymmetric explosion. Also, W49B is much more barrel-shaped than most other remnants in X-rays and several other wavelengths, pointing to an unusual demise for this star.......
See:Supernova Remnant W49B

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Nightlights from Coast of Eastern US

ISS030-E-078095 (6 Feb. 2012) --- One of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station took this nighttime photograph of much of the eastern (Atlantic) coast of the United States. Large metropolitan areas and other easily recognizable sites from the Virginia/Maryland/Washington, D.C. area spanning almost to Rhode Island are visible in the scene. Boston is just out of frame at right. Long Island and the Greater Metropolitan area of New York City are visible in the lower right quadrant. Large cities in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) are near center. Parts of two Russian vehicles parked at the orbital outpost are seen in left foreground.

Consciousness Research and Michael Persinger

Michael A. Persinger (born June 26, 1945) is a cognitive neuroscience researcher and university professor with over 200 peer-reviewed publications. He has worked at Laurentian University, located in Sudbury, Ontario, since 1971. He is primarily notable for his experimental work in the field of neurotheology, work which has been increasingly criticized in recent years.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

 Persinger MA[Author] Papers

Michael Persinger’s Group at Laurentian University, Canada, have obtained groundbreaking new results in consciousness, quantum brain & nonlocality research which are published in this Special Issue. These new results together with what have already been achieved in these fields in the past such as the results of Hu & Wu, Persinger’s team and some of other researchers have important implications for further advancements of these fields.See: Groundbreaking New Results in Consciousness, Quantum Brain & Nonlocality Research

A few might see a world of possibility in Persinger's theories. His booth has helped us discover and confirm our true predicament. "Seeing God" is really just a soothing euphemism for the fleeting awareness of ourselves alone in the universe: a look in that existential mirror. The "sensed presence" - now easily generated by a machine pumping our brains with electromagnetic spirituality - is nothing but our exquisite and singular self, at one with the true solitude of our condition, deeply anxious. We're itching to get out of here, to escape this tired old environment with its frayed carpets, blasted furniture, and shabby old God. Time to move on and discover true divinity all over again. This Is Your Brain on God By Jack Hitt

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Monday, February 18, 2013

History Displays Newton's Optics and Organic Chemistry?

 The Errors & Animadversions of Honest Isaac Newton

by Sheldon Lee Glashow


Isaac Newton was my childhood hero. Along with Albert Einstein, he one of the greatest scientists ever, but Newton was no saint. He used his position to defame his competitors and rarely credited his colleagues.His arguments were sometimes false and contrived, his data were often fudged, and he exaggerated the accuracy of his calculations. Furthermore, his many religious works (mostly unpublished) were nonsensical or mystical, revealing him to be a creationist at heart. My talk offers a sampling of Newton’s many transgressions, social, scientific and religious.

This is an entry in progress but if one has been following one may have asked indeed where did such a history begin to say that in today's world there is this emergence of the trades in combination. Theoretical Physics and Organic Chemistry.

You may be familiar with Isaac Newton from such inventions as calculus and the law of universal gravitation. What you may not know is that he was also an avid "chymist," or alchemist. In fact, Newton actually wrote roughly a million words about alchemy and his experiments with it — as Indiana University science historian William Newman has noted, Newton probably spent more time doing alchemy than he did on any of his other scientific pursuits. See: Incredible videos recreate Isaac Newton’s experiments with alchemy

Analysis of white light by dispersing it with a prism is an example of spectroscopy
So while looking at the future it is always interesting to see where such thought predate the thinking that cross pollination with regard to the science could have seen any benefit in looking at Spectroscopy. So you can see where I might have displayed an ancient idea suggested of alchemy as to the psychology as an end result of the complexity of simple formulation of the physics of things we did not see useful before.

It forces my thinking as to the assumptions that will eventually reveal the nature of our thoughts processes and evidences as existing in the idea of consciousnesses explained?

There is no doubt there is some relevance in my thinking that what may be termed spiritual may have some weight attached to how I think we may be held to our experiences. How the weight of our experiences could have affects as to what is perceivable outside the parameters of and circumference of our established lives.  On a classical level, the matter distinctions are apparent and anything beyond that as related too, quantum effects,  is a much more deeper request for new and measurable techniques to the psychology of our being and examination of what consciousness really is?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Physics of Organic Chemistry

Download a Power Point Presentation about Hera (3.3 MB)

It is a hasty entry this morning so by all means this information will not be complete. Familiarity with using spectrographic  processes helps to align the thinking needed in the overview of dealing with the processes of organic chemistry. By no means do I have a complete view here,  but if you think possibly in a theoretical way can we  marry Organic Chemistry to what we call Theoretical Organic Chemistry?

You are not just looking at the stars anymore but have realigned your thinking to organic processes here on Earth.

Spectra are complex because each spectrum holds a wide variety of information. For instance, there are many different mechanisms by which an object, like a star, can produce light - or using the technical term for light, electromagnetic radiation. Each of these mechanisms has a characteristic spectrum. Let's look at a spectrum and examine each part of it. Introduction to Spectroscopy

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The simulation hypothesis and other things I don’t believe

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jim Al-Khalili and the Quantum Robin
We've known for some time that certain animals can navigate the Earth using it's magnetic fields, but the methods by which they do this have remained largely unknown. However, an emerging field known as quantum biology is shedding light on this area and suggests that nature maybe taking advantage of quantum mechanics to develop its biological compass systems.
Physicist Jim Al-Khalili looks at one bird in particular, the European Robin, and how this species of migratory bird may be relying on the strange rules of quantum entanglement to find its way south each year.
Watch Jim's Friday Evening Discourse on the subject of Quantum Biology to find out more about the weird intersection between quantum mechanics and biology:

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Proton Tunneling in DNA and its Biological Implications by Per-Olov Lowdin

Proton Tunneling in DNA and its Biological Implications by Per-Olov Lowdin

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quantum Biology

The frequency of vibration of an object is, among other things, a function of mass: A heavy guitar string vibrates more slowly than a light one and produces a lower tone. These tiny cantilevers vibrate at radio frequencies, in the 1 to 15 megahertz range, and because they are so small to begin with, adding just a tiny bit more mass will make a measurable change in frequency.
For cell detection, the researchers coated their cantilevers with antibodies that bind to E. coli bacteria, then bathed the devices in a solution containing the cells. Some of the cells were bound to the surface, and the additional mass changed the frequency of vibration. In one case just one cell happened to bond to a cantilever, and it was possible to detect the mass of the single cell.
‘Nano’ Becomes ‘Atto’ and Will Soon Be ‘Zepto’ for Cornell - New Technology

As soon as you use the word "quantum" there is a easy assessment for a scientist who deals with reduction-ism to have it sorted out as to what levels of perception are being forced upon  a definition and understanding. A measurable quantity of something? For us lay people, it is never that easy.

 quan-tum (kwntm)
n. pl. quan·ta (-t)
1. A quantity or amount.
2. A specified portion.
3. Something that can be counted or measured.
4. Physics
a. The smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independently, especially a discrete quantity of electromagnetic radiation.
b. This amount of energy regarded as a unit.
Relating to or based upon quantum mechanics.

[Latin, from neuter of quantus, how great; see quantity.]

So suffice is it to say that by demonstrating this scalable reference to the values and options in recognition of the Powers of Ten,  we realize the depth with which we need participation. That through use of manufacture,  as for any of us to say such a thing that which is not observable normally, can we say then exists for us? We have all taken it for granted, even a scientist perhaps to realize how one can divvy up their day as to say at times our perception was much deeper in to the reality then previously confirmed?

Have we gotten so far into our assumptions of the world that we would not further entertain the idea that consciousness emerges from something. Consciousness that is so subtle that we have not really to this date been able to reproduce what consciousness actually looks like. Categorized consciousness at this wanted measurable level of perception that is needed.

Can we say we have always measured around it, and can shows signs of something going on in terms of biological exchange, but have as yet not been able to assess this function as nothing more then some abstract creature of design that we lack for distinct measurable quantities?

Quantum biology refers to applications of quantum mechanics to biological objects and problems. Usually, it is taken to refer to applications of the "non-trivial" quantum features such as superposition, nonlocality, entanglement and tunneling, as opposed to the "trivial" applications such as chemical bonding which apply to biology only indirectly by dictating quantum chemistry.
Austrian born physicist and theoretical biologist Erwin Schrödinger was one of the first scientists to suggest a study of quantum biology in his 1946 book "What is Life?"



Many biological processes involve the conversion of energy into forms that are usable for chemical transformations and are quantum mechanical in nature. Such processes involve chemical reactions, light absorption, formation of excited electronic states, transfer of excitation energy, and the transfer of electrons and protons (hydrogen ions) in chemical processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration.[1] Quantum biology uses computation to model biological interactions in light of quantum mechanical effects.[2]
Some examples of the biological phenomena that have been studied in terms of quantum processes are the absorbance of frequency-specific radiation (i.e., photosynthesis[3] and vision[4]); the conversion of chemical energy into motion;[5] magnetoreception in animals,[6][7] DNA mutation [8] and brownian motors in many cellular processes.[9]
Recent studies have identified quantum coherence and entanglement between the excited states of different pigments in the light-harvesting stage of photosynthesis.[10][11] Although this stage of photosynthesis is highly efficient, it remains unclear exactly how or if these quantum effects are relevant biologically.[12]


  1. ^ Quantum Biology. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group.
  2. ^ Science Daily Quantum Biology: Powerful Computer Models Reveal Key Biological Mechanism Retrieved Oct 14, 2007
  3. ^ Quantum Secrets of Photosynthesis Revealed
  4. ^ Garab, G. (1999). Photosynthesis: Mechanisms and Effects: Proceedings of the XIth International Congress on Photosynthesis. Kluwer Academic Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7923-5547-2.
  5. ^ Levine, Raphael D. (2005). Molecular Reaction Dynamics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 16–18. ISBN 978-0-521-84276-1.
  6. ^ Binhi, Vladimir N. (2002). Magnetobiology: Underlying Physical Problems. Academic Press. pp. 14–16. ISBN 978-0-12-100071-4.
  7. ^ Erik M. Gauger, Elisabeth Rieper, John J. L. Morton, Simon C. Benjamin, Vlatko Vedral: Sustained quantum coherence and entanglement in the avian compass, Physics Review Letters, vol. 106, no. 4, 040503 (2011) (abstract, preprint)
  8. ^ Lowdin, P.O. (1965) Quantum genetics and the aperiodic solid. Some aspects on the Biological problems of heredity, mutations, aging and tumours in view of the quantum theory of the DNA molecule. Advances in Quantum Chemistry. Volume 2. pp213-360. Acedemic Press
  9. ^ Harald Krug; Harald Brune, Gunter Schmid, Ulrich Simon, Viola Vogel, Daniel Wyrwa, Holger Ernst, Armin Grunwald, Werner Grunwald, Heinrich Hofmann (2006). Nanotechnology: Assessment and Perspectives. Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K. pp. 197–240. ISBN 978-3-540-32819-3.
  10. ^ Sarovar, Mohan; Ishizaki, Akihito; Fleming, Graham R.; Whaley, K. Birgitta (2010). "Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes". Nature Physics 6 (6): 462–467. arXiv:0905.3787. Bibcode 2010NatPh...6..462S. doi:10.1038/nphys1652.
  11. ^ Engel GS, Calhoun TR, Read EL, Ahn TK, Mancal T, Cheng YC et al. (2007). "Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems.". Nature 446 (7137): 782–6. Bibcode 2007Natur.446..782E. doi:10.1038/nature05678. PMID 17429397.
  12. ^ Scholes GS (2010). "Quantum-Coherent Electronic Energy Transfer: Did Nature Think of It First?". Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 1: 2–8. doi:10.1021/jz900062f.

Further reading

External links

Photos By: Illustration by Megan Gundrum, fifth-year DAAP student

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Monday, February 11, 2013

The Emerging Physics of Consciousness

This is an interesting post for me because of what I wanted to portray as the signs and length scale used in the determinations of quantum effects associated with the use of consciousness. As well to understand the historical beginnings and questions about what began in this area was preceded by the thoughts and likes of Schrodinger in his article displayed in the post previous. This consensus for me was about the understanding as biological systems whose definition sought to seek such quantum affects as methods used by or status as human beings to demonstrate such abilities.

There are three broad kinds of experiments that one can devise to test hypotheses involving the relevance of quantum effects to the phenomenon of conscious ness. The three kinds address three different scale ranges associated roughly with tissue-to-cell (1cm-10 μ m), cell-to- protein (10 μ m-10nm) and protein-to-atom (10nm-1Å) sizes. Note that we are excluding experiments that aim to detect quantum effects at the “whole hum an” or even “society” level as these have consistently given either negative results or been plagued by irreproducibility and bad science (e.g. the various extra sensory perception and remote viewing experiments [4]). TOWARDS EXPERIMENTAL TESTS OF QUANTUM EFFECTS IN CYTOSKELETAL PROTEINS

First on my mind is and was the idea of the Olfactory experience. As well,  the idea of a photosynthesis as a capability and recognition of such an ability "as a distributor of of such quantum effects." Bird navigation using the earths magnetic feild.

You must understand that by no means do I pretend to know all of the answer, is  more to demonstrate the learning that is going on toward dealing with some of the things that are demonstrative of understanding quantum effects as a  measurable things. A measurable thing,  that we as conscious beings make use of. A measurable thing in which we wish to emulate in quantum computing effects as measurable things to increase our depths of perception. Too Robotize.

We are creating machines with which to extend our perceptions in space and on Mars. Space travel and designated satellite space craft with which to examine that environment.

Big Ideas presents Seth Lloyd of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology on Quantum Life, how organisms have evolved to make use of quantum effects.

Also too then is the idea that such progress to provide sensor data which extends our range of perspective,  as  measures also help us to see consciousness as a useful thing.  Consciousness's layers,  which help to provide depth and understanding,  using such data observation.

Statistical and applied probabilistic knowledge is the core of knowledge; statistics is what tells you if something is true, false, or merely anecdotal; it is the "logic of science"; it is the instrument of risk-taking; it is the applied tools of epistemology; you can't be a modern intellectual and not think probabilistically—but... let's not be suckers. The problem is much more complicated than it seems to the casual, mechanistic user who picked it up in graduate school. Statistics can fool you. In fact it is fooling your government right now. It can even bankrupt the system (let's face it: use of probabilistic methods for the estimation of risks did just blow up the banking system).THE FOURTH QUADRANT: A MAP OF THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS [9.15.08]  By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Such depths are required to analyze the economic functions in society, as  requiring more sensitive fundamental measures since being betray by political influence. This is so as to see the economy "as tool to influence." Greater then is the question to identify aspects of these models with which consciousness uses,  so as to demonstrate aspect and dealings "as attributes" in that society. It requires a greater depth of perception then ever required before? So shall we say then that the economy suffers from no quantum effects at all?

Nassim Nicholas Taleb - What is a "Black Swan?"

Of course, I am not going to be most perfect in the science understanding which always begs for those that are the willing in science to help correct any mistakes that I may be perpetrating as a science enthusiast. Again caution here as to my status as a layman.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

What is Life?


First published 1944 What is life? 

The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell. Based on lectures delivered under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at Trinity College, Dublin, in February 1943.

What Is Life? is a 1944 non-fiction science book written for the lay reader by physicist Erwin Schrödinger. The book was based on a course of public lectures delivered by Schrödinger in February 1943, under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. The lectures attracted an audience of about 400, who were warned "that the subject-matter was a difficult one and that the lectures could not be termed popular, even though the physicist’s most dreaded weapon, mathematical deduction, would hardly be utilized."[1] Schrödinger's lecture focused on one important question: "how can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?"[1]

In the book, Schrödinger introduced the idea of an "aperiodic crystal" that contained genetic information in its configuration of covalent chemical bonds. In the 1950s, this idea stimulated enthusiasm for discovering the genetic molecule. Although the existence of DNA had been known since 1869, its role in reproduction and its helical shape were still unknown at the time of Schrödinger's lecture. In retrospect, Schrödinger's aperiodic crystal can be viewed as a well-reasoned theoretical prediction of what biologists should have been looking for during their search for genetic material. Both James D. Watson,[2] and independently, Francis Crick, co-discoverers of the structure of DNA, credited Schrödinger's book with presenting an early theoretical description of how the storage of genetic information would work, and each respectively acknowledged the book as a source of inspiration for their initial researches.[3]



The book is based on lectures delivered under the auspices of the Institute at Trinity College, Dublin, in February 1943 and published in 1944. At that time DNA was not yet accepted as the carrier of hereditary information, which only was the case after the Hershey–Chase experiment of 1952. One of the most successful branches of physics at this time was statistical physics, and quantum mechanics, a theory which is also very statistical in its nature. Schrödinger himself is one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics.
Max Delbrück's thinking about the physical basis of life was an important influence on Schrödinger.[4] Geneticist and 1946 Nobel-prize winner H.J. Muller had in his 1922 article "Variation due to Change in the Individual Gene"[5] already laid out all the basic properties of the heredity molecule that Schrödinger derives from first principles in What is Life?, properties which Muller refined in his 1929 article "The Gene As The Basis of Life"[6] and further clarified during the 1930s, long before the publication of What is Life?[7] [verification needed] But the role of the macromolecule DNA as the genetic material was not yet suspected in 1929, rather, some form of protein was expected to be the genetic material at that time.


In chapter I, Schrödinger explains that most physical laws on a large scale are due to chaos on a small scale. He calls this principle "order-from-disorder." As an example he mentions diffusion, which can be modeled as a highly ordered process, but which is caused by random movement of atoms or molecules. If the number of atoms is reduced, the behaviour of a system becomes more and more random. He states that life greatly depends on order and that a naive physicist may assume that the master code of a living organism has to consist of a large number of atoms.

In chapter II and III, he summarizes what was known at this time about the hereditary mechanism. Most importantly, he elaborates the important role mutations play in evolution. He concludes that the carrier of hereditary information has to be both small in size and permanent in time, contradicting the naive physicist's expectation. This contradiction cannot be resolved by classical physics.

In chapter IV, Schrödinger presents molecules, which are indeed stable even if they consist of only a few atoms, as the solution. Even though molecules were known before, their stability could not be explained by classical physics, but is due to the discrete nature of quantum mechanics. Furthermore mutations are directly linked to quantum leaps.
He continues to explain, in chapter V, that true solids, which are also permanent, are crystals. The stability of molecules and crystals is due to the same principles and a molecule might be called "the germ of a solid." On the other hand an amorphous solid, without crystalline structure, should be regarded as a liquid with a very high viscosity. Schrödinger believes the heredity material to be a molecule, which unlike a crystal does not repeat itself. He calls this an aperiodic crystal. The aperiodic nature allows to encode an almost infinite number of possibilities with a small number of atoms. He finally compares this picture with the known facts and finds it in accordance with them.
In chapter VI Schrödinger states: matter, while not eluding the "laws of physics" as established up to date, is likely to involve "other laws of physics" hitherto unknown, which however, once they have been revealed, will form just as integral a part of science as the former.
He knows that this statement is open to misconception and tries to clarify it. The main principle involved with "order-from-disorder" is the second law of thermodynamics, according to which entropy only increases in a closed system (such as the universe). Schrödinger explains that living matter evades the decay to thermodynamical equilibrium by homeostatically maintaining negative entropy (today this quantity is called information[8]) in an open system.

In chapter VII, he maintains that "order-from-order" is not absolutely new to physics; in fact, it is even simpler and more plausible. But nature follows "order-from-disorder", with some exceptions as the movement of the celestial bodies and the behaviour of mechanical devices such as clocks. But even those are influenced by thermal and frictional forces. The degree to which a system functions mechanically or statistically depends on the temperature. If heated, a clock ceases to function, because it melts. Conversely, if the temperature approaches absolute zero, any system behaves more and more mechanically. Some systems approach this mechanical behaviour rather fast with room temperature already being practically equivalent to absolute zero.

Schrödinger concludes this chapter and the book with philosophical speculations on determinism, free will, and the mystery of human consciousness. He believes he must reconcile two premises: (1) the body fully obeys the laws of quantum mechanics, where quantum indeterminacy plays no important role except to increase randomness at the quantum scale; and (2) there is "incontrovertible direct experience" that we freely direct our bodies, can predict outcomes, and take responsibility for our choice of action. Schrödinger rejects the idea that the source of consciousness should perish with the body because he finds the idea "distasteful". He also rejects the idea that there are multiple immortal souls that can exist without the body because he believes that consciousness is nevertheless highly dependent on the body. Schrödinger writes that, to reconcile the two premises,
The only possible alternative is simply to keep to the immediate experience that consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown; that there is only one thing and that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of this one thing...
Any intuitions that consciousness is plural, he says, are illusions. Schrödinger is sympathetic to the Hindu concept of Brahman, by which each individual's consciousness is only a manifestation of a unitary consciousness pervading the universe - which corresponds to the Hindu concept of God. Schrödinger concludes that "...'I' -am the person, if any, who controls the 'motion of the atoms' according to the Laws of Nature. However, he also qualifies the conclusion as "necessarily subjective" in its "philosophical implications." In the final paragraph, he points out that what is meant by "I" is not the collection of experienced events but "namely the canvas upon which they are collected." If a hypnotist succeeds in blotting out all earlier reminiscences, he writes, there would be no loss of personal existence - "Nor will there ever be."[9]

Schrödinger's "paradox"

In a world governed by the second law of thermodynamics, all isolated systems are expected to approach a state of maximum disorder. Since life approaches and maintains a highly ordered state - some argue that this seems to violate the aforementioned Second Law implicating a paradox. However, since life is not an isolated system, there is no paradox. The increase of order inside an organism is more than paid for by an increase in disorder outside this organism. By this mechanism, the Second Law is obeyed, and life maintains a highly ordered state, which it sustains by causing a net increase in disorder in the Universe. In order to increase the complexity on Earth - as life does - you need energy. Most of the energy for life here on Earth is provided by the Sun.


See also



  1. ^ a b Margulis, Lynn. & Sagan, Dorion. (1995). What Is Life? (pg. 1). Berkeley: University of California Press.
  2. ^ Watson, James D. (2007), Avoid Boring People: (Lessons from a life in science), New York: Knopf, p. 353, ISBN 978-0-375-41284-4. Page 28 details how Watson came to appreciate the significance of the gene.
  3. ^ Julian F. Derry (2004). "Book Review: What Is Life? By Erwin Schrödinger". Human Nature Review. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  4. ^ Dronamraju KR (November 1999). "Erwin Schrödinger and the origins of molecular biology". Genetics 153 (3): 1071–6. PMC 1460808. PMID 10545442.
  5. ^ American Naturalist 56 (1922)
  6. ^ Proceedings of the International Congress of Plant Sciences 1 (1929)
  7. ^ Schwartz, James (2008). In Pursuit of the Gene. From Darwin to DNA. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02670-4.
  8. ^ Shannon, Claude; Weaver, Warren (1949), The Mathematical Theory of Communication, ISBN 0-252-72546-8
  9. ^ Schrödinger references The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley as a "beautiful book" leveling with the view he has taken in the last chapter.


Other cited literature


External links

See Also: