Why are we alive? Most things in the universe aren't. And if you
trace the evolutionary history of plants and animals back far
enough, you will find that, at some point, neither were we.
Scientists have wrestled with this problem for centuries, and no
one has been able to offer a credible theory. But in 2013, at just
30 years old, biophysicist Jeremy England published a paper that
has utterly upended the ongoing study of life's origins. In Every
Life Is on Fire, he describes, for the first time, his highly
publicized theory known as dissipative adaptation. In any
disordered system, matter clumps together and breaks apart, mostly
randomly, without consequence. But some of the clumps that form are
momentarily better at doing one specific job: dissipating energy.
These structures are less likely to fall apart. Over time, they
become better at both withstanding the disorder surrounding them
and creating copies of themselves. From this deep insight, grounded
in thermodynamics, England is able to isolate the emergence of the
first life-like behaviors. Scientists have always thought that life
began as a stroke of spectacular luck. But in fact, life may be
inevitable, a product of the iron physical laws of the universe.
England is both a world-class physicist and an ordained rabbi, and
so his enquiry doesn't end with the physics of life. We ask
questions like "How did life begin?" not just for the fun of
scientific inquiry, but because we want a deeper understanding of
who we are and why we're here. Even if physics can explain how
life-like behaviors emerged, England doubts that reducing life down
to the energy flows of a bunch of microscopic particles can ever
give us a satisfying answer to what it means to be alive?. He
believes that life is fundamentally a philosophical distinction,
not a natural one. So before we can seriously look for life's
physical origins, we must first make basic choices about what we
think life means. This is something researchers often fail to
recognize, and it is why, throughout In Every Life Is on Fire,
England informs the premises of his theory with a careful
exploration of what life is for. For anyone who reads this book, no
matter their creed, In Every Life Is On Fire offers a rare work of
popular science that explores not just what science does, but how
it imbues our lives with meaning.
Is the information for this product incomplete, wrong or inappropriate?
Let us know about it.
Does this product have an incorrect or missing image?
Send us a new image.
Is this product missing categories?
Add more categories.
Review This Product
No reviews yet - be the first to create one!