[read online pdf] At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and ComplexityAuthor Stuart Kauffman – Albawater.co

A major scientific revolution has begun, a new paradigm that rivals Darwin s theory in importance At its heart is the discovery of the order that lies deep within the most complex of systems, from the origin of life, to the workings of giant corporations, to the rise and fall of great civilizations Andthan anyone else, this revolution is the work of one man, Stuart Kauffman, a MacArthur Fellow and visionary pioneer of the new science of complexity Now, in At Home in the Universe, Kauffman brilliantly weaves together the excitement of intellectual discovery and a fertile mix of insights to give the general reader a fascinating look at this new science and at the forces for order that lie at the edge of chaos We all know of instances of spontaneous order in nature an oil droplet in water forms a sphere, snowflakes have a six fold symmetry What we are only now discovering, Kauffman says, is that the range of spontaneous order is enormously greater than we had supposed Indeed, self organization is a great undiscovered principle of nature But how does this spontaneous order arise Kauffman contends that complexity itself triggers self organization, or what he calls order for free, that if enough different molecules pass a certain threshold of complexity, they begin to self organize into a new entity a living cell Kauffman uses the analogy of a thousand buttons on a rug join two buttons randomly with thread, then another two, and so on At first, you have isolated pairs later, small clusters but suddenly at around the th repetition, a remarkable transformation occurs much like the phase transition when water abruptly turns to ice and the buttons link up in one giant network Likewise, life may have originated when the mix of different molecules in the primordial soup passed a certain level of complexity and self organized into living entities if so, then life is not a highly improbable chance event, but almost inevitable Kauffman uses the basic insight of order for free to illuminate a staggering range of phenomena We see how a single celled embryo can grow to a highly complex organism with over two hundred different cell types We learn how the science of complexity extends Darwin s theory of evolution by natural selection that self organization, selection, and chance are the engines of the biosphere And we gain insights into biotechnology, the stunning magic of the new frontier of genetic engineering generating trillions of novel molecules to find new drugs, vaccines, enzymes, biosensors, andIndeed, Kauffman shows that ecosystems, economic systems, and even cultural systems may all evolve according to similar general laws, that tissues and terra cotta evolve in similar ways And finally, there is a profoundly spiritual element to Kauffman s thought If, as he argues, life were bound to arise, not as an incalculably improbable accident, but as an expected fulfillment of the natural order, then we truly are at home in the universe Kauffman s earlier volume, The Origins of Order, written for specialists, received lavish praise Stephen Jay Gould called it a landmark and a classic And Nobel Laureate Philip Anderson wrote that there are few people in this world who ever ask the right questions of science, and they are the ones who affect its future most profoundly Stuart Kauffman is one of these In At Home in the Universe, this visionary thinker takes you along as he explores new insights into the nature of life