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 DNA.)

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 Mush.