Short works

Books : reviews

Mae-Wan Ho.
The Rainbow and the Worm: the physics of organisms: 3rd edn.
World Scientific. 2008

This highly unusual book began as a serious inquiry into Schrödinger’s question, “What is life?”, and as a celebration of life itself. It takes the reader on a voyage of discovery through many areas of contemporary physics, from non-equilibrium thermodynamics and quantum optics to liquid crystals and fractals, all necessary for illuminating the problem of life. In the process, the reader is treated to a rare and exquisite view of the organism, gaining novel insights not only into the physics, but also into “the poetry and meaning of being alive.”