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Life Sciences - Evolutionary & Developmental Biology | Perspectives on Organisms - Biological time, Symmetries and Singularities

Perspectives on Organisms

Biological time, Symmetries and Singularities

Longo, Giuseppe, Montévil, Maël

2014, XVIII, 283 p. 30 illus., 24 illus. in color.

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  • Provides a novel and genuinely theoretical approach to biology
  • Includes a characterization of 'physical' versus 'biological’ objects
  • Introduces the concept of anti-entropy as a measure for the potential of variability
  • Presents numerous theoretical propositions
  • Written by experts in the field

This authored monograph introduces a genuinely theoretical approach to biology. Starting point is the investigation of empirical biological scaling including their variability, which is found in the literature, e.g. allometric relationships, fractals, etc. The book then analyzes two different aspects of biological time: first, a supplementary temporal dimension to accommodate proper biological rhythms; secondly, the concepts of protension and retention as a means of local organization of time in living organisms. Moreover, the book investigates the role of symmetry in biology, in view of its ubiquitous importance in physics. In relation with the notion of extended critical transitions, the book proposes that organisms and their evolution can be characterized by continued symmetry changes, which accounts for the irreducibility of their historicity and variability. The authors also introduce the concept of anti-entropy as a measure for the potential of variability, being equally understood as alterations in symmetry. By this, the book provides a mathematical account of Gould's analysis of phenotypic complexity with respect to biological evolution. The target audience primarily comprises researchers interested in new theoretical approaches to biology, from physical, biological or philosophical backgrounds, but the book may also be beneficial for graduate students who want to enter this field.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Allometric Laws - Biological Evolution - Biological Rhythms - Biological Time - Darwin’s Evolution - Gould’s Analysis - Phenotypic Complexity - Symmetry in Biology - Theoretical Biology

Related subjects » Biophysics & Biological Physics - Evolutionary & Developmental Biology - Philosophy

Table of contents 

Introduction.- Scaling and scale symmetries in biological systems.- A 2-dimensional geometry for biological time.- Protention and retention in biological systems.- Symmetry and symmetry breakings in physics.- Critical phase transitions.- From physics to biology by extending criticality and symmetry Breakings.- Biological phase spaces and enablement.- Biological order as a consequence of randomness: Anti-entropy and symmetry changes.- A philosophical survey on how we moved from Physics to Biology.

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