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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Academic & Professional Books  Evolutionary Biology  Evolution

A World Beyond Physics The Emergence & Evolution of Life

By: Stuart A Kauffman(Author)
151 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations
A World Beyond Physics
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  • Backlist Bargains A World Beyond Physics ISBN: 9780190871338 Hardback Jul 2019 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

How did life start? Is the evolution of life describable by any physics-like laws? Stuart Kauffman's latest book offers an explanation – beyond what the laws of physics can explain – of the progression from a complex chemical environment to molecular reproduction, metabolism and to early protocells, and further evolution to what we recognize as life. Among the estimated one hundred billion solar systems in the known universe, evolving life is surely abundant. That evolution is a process of "becoming" in each case. Since Newton, we have turned to physics to assess reality. But physics alone cannot tell us where we came from, how we arrived, and why our world has evolved past the point of unicellular organisms to an extremely complex biosphere.

Building on concepts from his work as a complex systems researcher at the Santa Fe Institute, Kauffman focuses in particular on the idea of cells constructing themselves and introduces concepts such as "constraint closure." Living systems are defined by the concept of "organization" which has not been focused on in enough in previous works. Cells are autopoetic systems that build themselves: they literally construct their own constraints on the release of energy into a few degrees of freedom that constitutes the very thermodynamic work by which they build their own self creating constraints. Living cells are "machines" that construct and assemble their own working parts. The emergence of such systems – the origin of life problem – was probably a spontaneous phase transition to self-reproduction in complex enough prebiotic systems. The resulting protocells were capable of Darwin's heritable variation, hence open-ended evolution by natural selection. Evolution propagates this burgeoning organization. Evolving living creatures, by existing, create new niches into which yet further new creatures can emerge. If life is abundant in the universe, this self-constructing, propagating, exploding diversity takes us beyond physics to biospheres everywhere.



Chapter 1: The World Is Not a Machine
Chapter 2: The Function of Function
Chapter 3: Propagating Organization
Chapter 4: Demystifying Life
Chapter 5: How to Make a Metabolism
Chapter 6: Protocells
Chapter 7: Heritable Variation
Chapter 8: The Games We Play
Chapter 9: The Stage is Set
Chapter 10: Exaptations and Screwdrivers
Chapter 11: AWorld Beyond Physics

Epilogue: The Evolution of the Economy

Customer Reviews


Stuart Kauffman is a medical doctor, theoretical biologist, and complex systems researcher. He has held professorships at the University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in evolutionary biology in 1987. He is the author of multiple seminal works including The Origins of Order (1993) At Home in the Universe (1996), Investigations (2002), and Humanity in a Creative Universe (2016).

By: Stuart A Kauffman(Author)
151 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"For persons with the requisite scientific background, the book will be very rewarding to read [...] The book has many applications to the science and theology interchange [...] "
– Jay R. Feierman, European Society for the Study of Science and Theology News and Reviews

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