Is life a product of entropy's laws?


Erwin Schrödinger attempted to comprehend the origins of life using the physics of the day over 80 years ago. Stephon Alexander and Salvador Almagro-Moreno are now attempting to do the same thing using modern science.

The big bang, which occurred at the beginning of time, set off a cascade of events that resulted in subatomic particles clumping together to form atoms, molecules, and, eventually, the planets, stars, and galaxies that we see today. Although we generally consider life and the origin of the universe to be independent, or "non-overlapping magisteria," to use biologist Stephen Jay Gould's phrase, this line of events also led to humanity.

Complex systems like life appear to cosmologists to be of minor importance in the context of the problems they are attempting to answer, such as those relating to the big bang or the standard model of particle physics. Similarly, biologists believe that life is contained within a biosphere separate from the grandiose universe's events. Is that correct, however?

Several notable scientists, including John von Neumann, Erwin Schrödinger, Claude Shannon, and Roger Penrose, have entertained the notion that studying life and the universe simultaneously could yield valuable discoveries.

The opinions of physicist Erwin Schrödinger were particularly intriguing, as his bold theories and forecasts in biology have had a tremendous impact. In 1943, he delivered a series of lectures at Trinity College Dublin, which were later collected in the small but powerful book What Is Life? He theorized in it about how physics, biology, and chemistry could work together to explain how life emerges from inanimate matter.

Schrödinger reasoned that the same physical principles that govern a star must also govern the complex metabolic processes that occur within a live cell.

He was well aware that the physics of his period was insufficient to explain some of the amazing experimental results concerning living cells that had previously been made, but he persisted in trying to explain biology using the physics he knew.