What is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell
Category: First Edition
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. 1944.
First English edition; 8vo; original cloth, dust jacket. The book was based on a course of public lectures delivered by Schrödinger in February 1943, in Dublin, where he was Director of Theoretical Physics, at Trinity College, Dublin. The lectures attracted an audience of about 400, who were warned "that the subject-matter was a difficult one and that the lectures could not be termed popular, even though the physicist's most dreaded weapon, mathematical deduction, would hardly be utilized." Schrödinger's lecture focused on one important question: "how can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?" Schrödinger concludes the book with philosophical speculations on determinism, free will, and the mystery of human consciousness.
According to James D. Watson's memoir, DNA, the Secret of Life, Schrödinger's book gave Watson the inspiration to research the gene, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix structure in 1953. Similarly, Francis Crick, in his autobiographical book What Mad Pursuit, described how he was influenced by Schrödinger's speculations about how genetic information might be stored in molecules. Afine copy in a very good dust jacket. spine a little browned, spine ends and corners a little chipped, short split to foot of upper fore-edge, an excellent example.