The Life of the Cosmos has ratings and 42 reviews. David said: Lee Smolin presents an interesting hypothesis that attempts to explain why the fundame. CHAPTER ONE. The Life of the Cosmos. By LEE SMOLIN Oxford University Press. Read the Review. LIGHT and LIFE. Science is, above everything else. The life of the cosmos / by Lee Smolin. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN X. ISBN (Pbk.) 1. Cosmology.

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Indeed, just as our life is embedded in the ecological cycles of the biosphere, our whole planet exists as a part of a much older cycle of material and energy that forms the galaxy.

The Life of the Cosmos – Wikipedia

The electron is lighter than the proton, but not as light as the neutrino. Thus, the idea of the absolute plays an essential role for us, as it did for the Greeks. It may be that, although our Universe is special in its particular realization of the consequences of its physical laws, that complexity and self-organization are a property of many systems.

However, the understanding of certain things might be beyond human intellectual capability. That’s the fun part! If the contents then join a sufficiently dense gas cloud, then a collapse of material forms a star with planets. Lee Smolin proposes a thought-provoking cosmological theory of cosmic natural selection to explain the complexity of the universe.

The idea that life is not reducible to physics seems a remnant of the Greek and Christian cosmologies in which earth and sky are made from different essences. The reader should not be a strong believer in God, as the book continually downplays the role of any supreme being. Kauffman Limited preview – Refresh and try again. He makes some analogy between life and the cosmos, apparently in attempt to determine whether or not the cosmos is literally alive.

Of course, I wish I’ll be proved wrong. The second part deals with his hypothesis of cosmic natural selection which may seem interesting at first, but then gets very speculative and repetitive.

Another criticism is that The Life of the Cosmos probably should spend more time explaining physics and astrophysics. I thought this was a very well written scientific piece of work by Smolin.


This is where the heart of the book lies, the life of such a cosmos. Systems Smolin makes a big deal about complex, self-organizing, stable, and non-equilibrium systems. But we can question the idea that if we knew only those laws, and nothing else about the history or organization of the universe, we could deduce the properties of a quark or electron. He also uses this principle to justify lots of rational ideas, like relativity over a fixed background.

Also the book could have used more pictures to facilitates the understanding of some of the concepts. I learned a lot here and there and although I’m not a convert yet, I smolij the ideas of The very success lifr the reductionist philosophy may have brought us to the moment when we have in our hands at least some of the truly elementary particles.

Someone might even dare to say “Why God? Not only is the existence of life compatible with thermodynamics, the two subjects are actually so intimately related that the clearest characterization of life I know of is one given in thermodynamic terms. For those who are wary of ‘science’ books, I feel comfortable to say that the science curve is not daunting at all, and there are several symbolic examples, which seem to revolve around cats- so for feline fans, maybe add half smolln star.

Cosmological natural selection (fecund universes)

Cosmological natural selection is an extremely ambitious proposal, comparable to the one of Copernicus at his time that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Smolin imagines that, when matter falls in upon itself to form a black hole, a rebound occurs that spawns one or more new universes. The book is not overly technical — e. In doing so, he dives into the discussion of self-organized complex physical systems and relativity.

Oxford University Press- Science – pages. But this does not mean that there can be no effect by which an elementary particle is influenced by its environment. This means we must try to determine if the properties of the elementary particles might be somehow influenced by their relationships with the things that are around them. We all see; even the simplest fungus or protozoa has receptors that respond to the presence of light. What he has in mind is the problem that modern particle theory, including string theory which was the last word when this was written seventeen years ago While most physicists ignore philosophy, apart from an occasional pop version of Thomas Kuhn’s paradigms, or even attack each other for doing “philosophy” instead of “science”, Smolin in this book argues that there is a crisis in modern physics which needs to be met by explicitly considering the philosophical presuppositions of current theory.


I must confess that it is still not completely easy, even after the years I have spent thinking about it, to write these last sentences. But science in its present form fails to explain why things are the way they are — at least at a fundamental level. Paperbackpages. It has just been abstracted, from eternal atoms to eternal laws. My only complain is about the format of book. From a fundamental point of view, a universe filled with a gas of atoms in thermal equilibrium is as plausible as a world full of a variety of structures.

However, while there is no direct analogue to Darwinian selective pressures, it is theorised that a universe with “unsuccessful” parameters will reach heat death before being able to reproduce, meaning that certain universal parameters become more likely than others.

I was particularly interested to learn that Cellular Automata have been used to model galactic star formation. In this process, we see that individual and collective intelligence memes, knowledge, self-awareness increasingly influences and constrains the original and persistent “random” replicators genes, DNA.

My cat also maintains a constant body temperature, which is different from mine. The proposal for cosmological natural selection rests on two general assumptions: Or maybe with other values of the masses of particles, the strengths of forces and so on, a universe arises that is very different from ours but still possesses rich and complex structures.

Thus, at some point during the last few years I began to ask my students directly why they don’t like physics.

But what I found perhaps more interesting was the feel xmolin gets for the way in which men such as Smolin construct their thoughts, and it gives a more humanist perspective on the theories rather than just numbers and equations.