A book by Erwin Schrödinger, published in 1945.

The sub-title of this little book is The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell and that is a pretty good (if a bit dry) indication of what the book is about. Schrödinger applies his knowledge in particle level physics on the macroscopic phenomenon of life. How come the seemingly unpredictable behaviour of the individual atoms can give rise to such very well ordered systems as living organisms?

Schrödinger argues that this is a statistical phenomenon; it emerges through huge numbers of tiny particles acting according to strict physical laws, even if the destiny of each one of these particles is basically impossible to predict. Yet there are controlling mechanisms that consist of so few atoms that their function must depend on their exact structures. This leads him through thermodynamics to the concept of "life" as something that consumes negative entropy.

One interesting point is the way the author deduces s lot of things about DNA at a time before there was actual evidence for this, by applying physical reasoning. Another is the final chapter where Schrödinger goes on to do some open-minded philosophising around the concept of consciousness and self.

(Some editing done, following advice from the writeup below. Infact the whole writeup by me was very sloppy. Bad me.)