Abstract

Life is so remarkable, and so unlike any other physical system, that it is tempting to attribute special factors to it. Physics is founded on the assumption that universal laws and principles underlie all natural phenomena, but is it far from clear that there are 'laws of life' with serious descriptive or predictive power analogous to the laws of physics. Nor is there (yet) a 'theoretical biology' in the same sense as theoretical physics. Part of the obstacle in developing a universal theory of biological organization concerns the daunting complexity of living organisms. However, many attempts have been made to glimpse simplicity lurking within this complexity, and to capture this simplicity mathematically. In this paper we review a promising new line of inquiry to bring coherence and order to the realm of biology by focusing on 'information' as a unifying concept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102601
JournalReports on Progress in Physics
Volume79
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 9 2016

Fingerprint

Physics
biology
theoretical physics
physics
organisms

Keywords

  • biological laws
  • complexity
  • emergence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

The hidden simplicity of biology. / Davies, Paul; Walker, Sara.

In: Reports on Progress in Physics, Vol. 79, No. 10, 102601, 09.09.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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