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New theory of life

(13 Posts)
thatbags Fri 24-Jan-14 07:01:45

Maths strikes again smile

Aka Fri 24-Jan-14 07:28:29

Thank you bags

LizG Fri 24-Jan-14 08:03:51

Bit too much for my stupid, relatively unscientific, mind; sorry blush. i think a four line precis would be useful.

ffinnochio Fri 24-Jan-14 08:11:43

Yes, I enjoyed that - at least the essence of the article which I think I understood. An interesting Friday morning read.

thatbags Fri 24-Jan-14 08:11:46

Try these eight lines, lizg.

From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy as heat.

when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy.

“You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said.

ffinnochio Fri 24-Jan-14 08:19:04

The last para. is worth holding in mind for all manner of questioning one comes across in life, which are not necessarily scientifically based.

thatbags Fri 24-Jan-14 13:08:37


Ana Fri 24-Jan-14 13:14:00

I don't know about maths - it sounds more like magic to me! Makes sense, though...

eliza Fri 24-Jan-14 17:38:31

laymans talk anyone pleasesmile

Ana Fri 24-Jan-14 17:43:56

eliza, if I can understand thatbags's précis of 08.11 it must be quite layman-like! grin

alternativegran Sat 22-Feb-14 13:59:54

Thank you thatbags,

What an interesting article, no scientific background myself but have downloaded it for a Sil and grandson.

durhamjen Sat 22-Feb-14 16:11:59

How long do you have to shine the light for? He's only 31, but many of us are in our 60s and 70s.

janerowena Sat 22-Feb-14 16:58:56

Fascinating. I liked

If England’s approach stands up to more testing, it could further liberate biologists from seeking a Darwinian explanation for every adaptation and allow them to think more generally in terms of dissipation-driven organization. They might find, for example, that “the reason that an organism shows characteristic X rather than Y may not be because X is more fit than Y, but because physical constraints make it easier for X to evolve than for Y to evolve,” Louis said.

“People often get stuck in thinking about individual problems,” Prentiss said. Whether or not England’s ideas turn out to be exactly right, she said, “thinking more broadly is where many scientific breakthroughs are made.”