Life as No One Knows It: The Physics of Life's Emergence (Hardcover)

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An intriguing new scientific theory that explains what life is and how it emerges.

What is life? This is among the most difficult open problems in science, right up there with the nature of consciousness and the existence of matter. All the definitions we have fall short. None help us understand how life originates or the full range of possibilities for what life on other planets might look like.

In Life as No One Knows It, physicist and astrobiologist Sara Imari Walker argues that solving the origin of life requires radical new thinking and an experimentally testable theory for what life is. This is an urgent issue for efforts to make life from scratch in laboratories here on Earth and missions searching for life on other planets.

Walker proposes a new paradigm for understanding what physics encompasses and what we recognize as life. She invites us into a world of maverick scientists working without a map, seeking not just answers but better ways to formulate the biggest questions we have about the universe. The book culminates with the bold proposal of a new theory for identifying and classifying life, one that applies not just to biological life on Earth but to any instance of life in the universe. Rigorous, accessible, and vital, Life as No One Knows It celebrates the mystery of life and the explanatory power of physics.

About the Author

Sara Imari Walker is an astrobiologist and theoretical physicist interested in the origin of life and discovering alien life on other worlds. She is deputy director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science and a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. She is also a fellow of the Berggruen Institute and a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. She is the recipient of the Stanley L. Miller Early-Career Award for her research on the origin of life, and her research team at ASU is internationally regarded as being among the leading labs aiming to build a fundamental theory for understanding what life is. Her research has been featured in Scientific American, Quanta Magazine, and a variety of other international outlets.

Praise For…

“With wit and clarity, Walker outlines a radical new approach to bridge the conceptual gap between non-life and life.”  —Paul Davies, author of What’s Eating the Universe and The Demon in the Machine
“Reading Life as No One Knows It is like engaging in a mind-bending conversation about the biggest questions of all.” —Tim Urban, creator of Wait But Why
“A masterfully crafted and engaging account of Assembly Theory. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in fundamental physics, the origins of life, and pursuing a better understanding of the structure underlying all of the universe’s creations.” —Annaka Harris, author of Conscious
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593191897
ISBN-10: 0593191897
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: August 6th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English