🔖 How Life (and Death) Spring From Disorder | Quanta Magazine

Bookmarked How Life (and Death) Spring From Disorder by Philip Ball (Quanta Magazine)
Life was long thought to obey its own set of rules. But as simple systems show signs of lifelike behavior, scientists are arguing about whether this apparent complexity is all a consequence of thermodynamics.

This is a nice little general interest article by Philip Ball that does a relatively good job of covering several of my favorite topics (information theory, biology, complexity) for the layperson. While it stays relatively basic, it links to a handful of really great references, many of which I’ve already read, though several appear to be new to me. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

While Ball has a broad area of interests and coverage in his work, he’s certainly one of the best journalists working in this subarea of interests today. I highly recommend his work to those who find this area interesting.


E. Mayr, What Makes Biology Unique? Cambridge University Press, 2004.
A. Wissner-Gross and C. Freer, ‚ÄúCausal entropic forces.,‚ÄĚ Phys Rev Lett, vol. 110, no. 16, p. 168702, Apr. 2013. [PubMed]
A. Barato and U. Seifert, ‚ÄúThermodynamic uncertainty relation for biomolecular processes.,‚ÄĚ Phys Rev Lett, vol. 114, no. 15, p. 158101, Apr. 2015. [PubMed]
J. Shay and W. Wright, ‚ÄúHayflick, his limit, and cellular ageing.,‚ÄĚ Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 72‚Äď6, Oct. 2000. [PubMed]
X. Dong, B. Milholland, and J. Vijg, ‚ÄúEvidence for a limit to human lifespan,‚ÄĚ Nature, vol. 538, no. 7624. Springer Nature, pp. 257‚Äď259, 05-Oct-2016 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature19793
H. Morowitz and E. Smith, ‚ÄúEnergy Flow and the Organization of Life,‚ÄĚ Santa Fe Institute, 07-Aug-2006. [Online]. Available: http://samoa.santafe.edu/media/workingpapers/06-08-029.pdf. [Accessed: 03-Feb-2017]
R. Landauer, ‚ÄúIrreversibility and Heat Generation in the Computing Process,‚ÄĚ IBM Journal of Research and Development, vol. 5, no. 3. IBM, pp. 183‚Äď191, Jul-1961 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1147/rd.53.0183
C. Rovelli, ‚ÄúMeaning = Information + Evolution,‚ÄĚ arXiv, Nov. 2006 [Online]. Available: https://arxiv.org/abs/1611.02420
N. Perunov, R. A. Marsland, and J. L. England, ‚ÄúStatistical Physics of Adaptation,‚ÄĚ Physical Review X, vol. 6, no. 2. American Physical Society (APS), 16-Jun-2016 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.6.021036 [Source]
S. Still, D. A. Sivak, A. J. Bell, and G. E. Crooks, ‚ÄúThermodynamics of Prediction,‚ÄĚ Physical Review Letters, vol. 109, no. 12. American Physical Society (APS), 19-Sep-2012 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.120604 [Source]

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