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Cosmogenesis : The Growth of Order in the Universe - David Layzer


The Growth of Order in the Universe

Paperback Published: 21st March 1991
ISBN: 9780195069082
Number Of Pages: 336

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Eminent Harvard astrophysicist David Layzer offers readers a unified theory of natural order and its origins, from the permanence, stability, and orderliness of sub-atomic particles to the evolution of the human mind. Cosmogenesis provides the first extended account of a controversial theory that connects quantum mechanics with the second law of thermodynamics, and presents novel resolutions of longstanding paradoxes in these theories, such as those of Schroedinger's cat and the arrow of time. Layzer's main concerns in the second half of the book are with the philosophical issues surrounding science. He develops a highly original reconciliation of the conflict between traditional scientific determinism and the intuitive notion of individual freedom. He argues that although the elementary processes underlying biological evolution and human development are governed by physical laws, they are nevertheless genuinely creative and unpredictable.

Industry Reviews

"Lazyer, an eminent astrophysicist, discusses the fundamental question, how did order arise in the universe? This is a broad treatment at a level appropriate for undergraduate science students and sophisticated nonscience majors. The roles of randomness and order in subjects such as quantum mechanics, galactic origin and evolution, molecular biology, the evolution of species, and the development of language are presented and discussed in a way that ties them together....Since the chapters are somewhat self-contained, the book could be used effectively as outside reading in a 'science for nonscientist' class."--Choice "Inspired by cosmology, Layzer deals with the paradox of creation of order by saying that, if entropy in the environment increases more than the entropy of the system, then the system becomes more ordered in that environment. Entropy and order can both increase at the same time without violating the second law of thermodynamics. This phenomenon can be described as: if the expansion of a set of systems is so quick that a number of states which are occupied increases less rapidly than the number of states which are available (i.e., the phase space gets bigger), entropy and order can increase at the same time. Unlike Prigogine, Layzer does not need to assume that an energy flow from the environment of a system can cause a local decrease in entropy within the system. Entropy and order increase together because the realization of structure lags behind the expansion of phase space." -- Piero Scaruffi, Thymos.com

Prefacep. vii
A Theory of Orderp. 1
The Unity of Sciencep. 3
Order and Randomnessp. 17
The Strong Cosmological Principle and Time's Arrowp. 39
The Importance of Being Discretep. 58
Seven Steps to Quantum Physicsp. 71
Alice in Quantumlandp. 95
The Strong Cosmological Principle and Quantum Physicsp. 119
Aspects of Timebound Orderp. 131
Cosmic Evolution: The Standard Modelp. 133
Gravitational Clustering and Structural Orderp. 153
Molecules, Genes, and Evolutionp. 171
Evolution and the Growth of Orderp. 197
Language, Thought, and Perceptionp. 231
What is Consciousness?p. 252
Brain and Mindp. 266
Chance, Necessity, and Freedomp. 296
Notesp. 309
Indexp. 317
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195069082
ISBN-10: 0195069080
Series: Growth of Order in the Universe
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 21st March 1991
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.48