This highly unusual book began as a serious inquiry into Schroedinger's question, "What is life?", and as a celebration of life itself. It takes the reader on a voyage of discovery through many areas of contemporary physics, from non-equilibrium thermodynamics and quantum optics to liquid crystals and fractals, all necessary for illuminating the problem of life. In the process, the reader is treated to a rare and exquisite view of the organism, gaining novel insights not only into the physics, but also into "the poetry and meaning of being alive."This much-enlarged third edition includes new findings on the central role of biological water in organizing living processes; it also completes the author's novel theory of the organism and its applications in ecology, physiology and brain science.
What Is It to Be Alive?; Do Organisms Contravene the Second Law?; Can the Second Law Cope with Organized Complexity?; Energy Flow and Living Cycles; How to Catch a Falling Electron; Towards a Thermodynamics of Organised Complexity; Sustainable Systems as Organisms; The Seventy-Three Octaves of Nature's Music; Coherent Excitations of the Body Electric; The Solid-State Cell; 'Life is a Little Electric Current'; How Coherent Is the Organism? The Heartbeat of Health; How Coherent Is the Organism? Sensitivity to Weak Electromagnetic Fields; Life is All the Colors of the Rainbow in a Worm; The Liquid Crystalline Organism; Crystal Consciousness; Liquid Crystalline Water; Quantum Entanglement and Coherence; Ignorance of the External Observer; Time and Freewill.