What Erwin Schrödinger thought life was.
("What is Life?" - his book, intended for the general reader
and one of the most seminal scientific works ever. For
example, it prompted Watson and Crick to investigate
He wrote he would have used the term "free
energy," rather than negative entropy, if he had been
addressing an audience of physicists; but feared that, had he
done so, the layman would have failed to distinguish "free
energy" from simply "energy".
The idea is that an organism is continually
being shaken apart, at a submicroscopic level, by thermal agitation. Its atoms continually knocked
from their proper positions. It becomes more disordered. In
repairing this damage it is continuously creating order,
creating, as it were, "negative entropy". Since entropy cannot
be destroyed (though it can be created) the organism must
continually export positive entropy - i.e. entropy - to its
surroundings (see Homoiothermy).
See also: Homoiothermy and Eating Diamond