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The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life by [Paul Davies]

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The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 206 ratings

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Length: 237 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Book Description

An astonishing new contribution to our ongoing quest for the secret of life itself. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Brilliantly vivid ... The big idea is that understanding the information flow in organisms might be the missing part of our scientific jigsaw puzzle. The informational approach [to life], in David's elegant and lucid exposition, is highly promising -- Steven Poole ― Guardian

Important and imaginative -- Clive Cookson ― Financial Times

Boundary-transcending ... Davies claims that life's defining characteristics are better understood in terms of information ... there is grandeur in this view of life ― Nature

Paul Davies is a courageous explorer of the boundaries of what we can know about our world. This book makes his explorations available to all who enjoy pushing those boundaries. Written with a light entertaining touch, even the most abstruse science acquires the clarity of exposition for which the author is justly renowned -- Denis Noble, University of Oxford, author of Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity

This is one of the most exciting books I have read in years. Paul Davies celebrates a significant anniversary with a demonically brilliant investigation of a fundamental question that only the very latest science and philosophy can deal with. Now we have a view from the master that's as thrilling as it is satisfying. Superb. -- Robyn Williams

The molecular biology revolution has led to extraordinary understandings of how life emerges from physical processes. But comprehension of the nuts and bolts of these processes omits a key feature of what is going on: what separates life from non-life is information. In this characteristically clearly written and engaging book, ranging from physics to biology and evolutionary theory to neuroscience, Paul Davies strongly makes the case that at its core, life is about information flows. There is much food for thought here. Highly recommended. -- George F.R. Ellis, University of Cape Town, co-author of The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time

Paul Davies always probes the deepest questions in science. Here, addressing the deepest of all -- Schrödinger's What is Life? -- he tells us what life is: matter plus information - beyond the laws of physics, but compatible with them. To elaborate this thesis, he deploys his trademark talent: getting to the heart of the most abstruse and technical aspects of science (biology as well as physics), without jargon and with down-to-earth analogies -- Michael Berry, HH Wills Physics Laboratory

This creative demon shadows DNA and the promise of quantum computing, answering some basic questions. What is consciousness, why is life so good at predicting where it might go next? The bridge connecting fundamental physics, biology and the most advanced labs of computation is what Davies calls information patterns. He shows how it organizes for top-down creativity, and thereby holds off the grim reaper of entropy. With striking insight, and metaphors that illuminate the landscape of science today, Davies once again becomes a guide to the near future. -- Charles Jencks, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Demon in the Machine encompasses some of the most intriguing and unsolved mysteries of the universe: the existence of an arrow of time imprinted on the cosmos, and the emergence of life itself. Davies' crisp but rich narrative succeeds in untangling various highly complex ideas and processes, while fluently and intelligently setting out its own arrow of argument. -- Mikhail Prokopenko, The University of Sydney

Paul Davies narrates a gripping new drama in science, in which the plot is the story of life and the leading actor is information. With his characteristic blend of erudition and clarity, he brings together some of the most rapidly advancing knowledge in physics and technology to show how information controls biology. If you want to understand how the concept of life is changing, read this. -- Professor Andrew Briggs, University of Oxford, author of The Penultimate Curiosity and It Keeps Me Seeking.

A tour-de-force of a fascinating and frontier topic: information as a distinguishing, central aspect of those physical systems known as living ones. The Demon in the Machine is simultaneously rigorous, state-of-the-art, and highly readable - very hard to put down -- Michael Levin, Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University

Paul Davies takes us on a fascinating tour of what is known about what life is. Along the way he speculates interestingly about what may become known. His theme, drawn from Darwin, Schrödinger, Turing, Gödel, Shannon and von Neumann, is that what separates life from non-life is information. But how? Exploring that question illuminates biology by revealing its deep roots in physics, mathematics and computer science. -- David Deutsch

What is life? Questions don't come much bigger than that. It's asked regularly by biologists, philosophers, lawyers, law-makers, astrobiologists and, occasionally, wide-eyed children. It's not so often asked by physicists, which makes Paul Davies' new book, The Demon In The Machine, that much more fascinating. ― Sydney Morning Herald

a vivid exposition of the new mathematics of biology, in which information flows play a central part ― The Telegraph, best new science books to buy for Christmas 2019

Davies - one of the most imaginative scientists working today - urges biologists studying the origins and evolution of life to pay more attention to flows of information and energy on top of traditional chemistry and physics. He is a clear guide to the emergence of information science as a key factor in biology research. ― The Financial Times, Best books of 2019: Science

Praise for The Origin of Life: One of a handful of first-rate scientists who are popular writers. If you are going to read only one book on the origin of life, seriously consider this one The New York Times

Davies succeeds not only in being provocative and controversial, but in maintaining the rigorous scientific approach of the physicist... a classic example of how to present a scientific case, and an insight into the way good scientists work -- John Gribbin ― Independent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07D1G7LJX
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin (31 January 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 4445 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 237 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 206 ratings

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
206 global ratings
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Top review from Australia

Reviewed in Australia on 23 May 2020
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Operative knowledge
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting general ideas, poorly structured
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 February 2019
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1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting general ideas, poorly structured
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 February 2019
I enjoyed the thesis, that biology = physics + information but sometimes it was being assumed, sometimes to be proved.
Then I wasted a whole morning because fig 11 is seriously wrong: Eventually I found the original academic publication: several arrows are mis-drawn reversing DE and CE and GF and missing a reverse link on FG . Of course we are just general readers and don't deserve accuracy.
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65 people found this helpful
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brymor
4.0 out of 5 stars What is Life?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 July 2019
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20 people found this helpful
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PP
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written and not too challenging but mixed feelings about the publishers claims .....
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 March 2019
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14 people found this helpful
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DC
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously stimulating and thought-provoking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 March 2020
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One person found this helpful
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Jennifer Juniper
5.0 out of 5 stars It's fantastic reading.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 March 2019
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3 people found this helpful
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