Life and information.

Schrödinger introduced the idea of a code of life - Comment on 2013 February 7

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Life had become information, genes were the bearers of that information, carrying it in a tiny, complex code inside every cell of our bodies. Read more:

Here some extracts from an article I read today; it is once again an article which shows how sciences suffer from again and again desperately building up models, which try to manage without the existence of a spiritual world:

 

What is life? The physicist who sparked a revolution in biology

Erwin Schrödinger introduced some of the most important concepts in biology, including the idea of a 'code' of life

Seventy years ago, on 5 February 1943, the Nobel prizewinning quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger gave the first of three public lectures at Trinity College, Dublin. His topic was an unusual one for a physicist: "What is Life?" The following year the lectures were turned into a book of the same name.

One of Schrödinger's key aims was to explain how living things apparently defy the second law of thermodynamics – according to which all order in the universe tends to break down.

But Schrödinger's book contains something far more important than his attempt to fuse physics and biology. In that lecture 70 years ago, he introduced some of the most important concepts in the history of biology, which continue to frame how we see life.

At a time when it was thought that proteins, not DNA, were the hereditary material, Schrödinger argued the genetic material had to have a non-repetitive molecular structure. He claimed that this structure flowed from the fact that the hereditary molecule must contain a "code-script" that determined "the entire pattern of the individual's future development and of its functioning in the mature state".

This was the first clear suggestion that genes contained some kind of "code"

DNA was thought to be a "boring" molecule with a repetitive structure – exactly what Schrödinger had said a gene could not be.

It took the work of Erwin Chargaff, inspired by Avery, to show that the proportion of the "bases" in the DNA molecule – generally presented by the letters A, T, C and G – differed widely from species to species, suggesting the molecule might not be so boring after all.

As early as 1947, Chargaff suggested that the change of a single base "could produce far-reaching changes … it is not impossible that rearrangements of this type are among the causes of the occurrence of mutations." The culmination of this line of work was Watson and Crick's double helix model.

But in 1947 there was a missing component in biological thinking about the nature of the code, one which was at the heart of Watson and Crick's decisive interpretation of their discovery a mere six years later – "information". That idea entered biology through some applied research carried out to aid the war effort.

In 1943, the US National Research and Development Committee set up a group of scientists to study "fire control" – how to ensure accurate anti-aircraft fire, by the control of information from radar, visual tracking and range-finding. Two of the men involved in this project were Claude Shannon, a mathematician who developed what became known as "information theory" to understand how signals were processed, and Norbert Wiener, who thought there were parallels between control systems in machines and in organisms, and who coined the term "cybernetics".

The first person to argue that a gene contains information was the co-founder of cybernetics, John von Neumann. In 1948, von Neumann described a gene as a "tape" that could program the organism

Ten years after Schrödinger's brilliant insight, Watson and Crick's second 1953 article on the structure of DNA provided the world with the key to the secret of life, casually employing the new concepts that had been created by cybernetics and propelling biology into the modern age with the words: "it therefore seems likely that the precise sequence of the bases is the code which carries the genetical information."

Life had become information, genes were the bearers of that information, carrying it in a tiny, complex code inside every cell of our bodies.

 

See
2012 Jun 12 – Big Bang Theory – Begin of worlds
2012 Oct 19 – Answers of question through knowing beings on the other side
2012 Oct 21 – Entropy and the second law of thermodynamics

 

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