What Is Life? [Schrodinger – Rare 1st Edition]


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What Is Life? is the groundbreaking and influential precursor to the development of genetics as a scientific field written by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961).

Subtitled The Physicist’s approach to the Subject – With an Epilogue on Determinism and Free Will this is the scarce first printing by Cambridge University Press (1944) in the particularly rare dustjacket. Considering the cheap wartime paper used, the jacket is in excellent condition with only some discolouration to top edges (front & back) and spine; some minor nicks at extremities with minimal loss at spine..

viii, 91pp; four full-page plates (one in colour); 6s. net on front flap (jacket not price-clipped); green boards with bright gold titling on spine.

Ownership details in pen on ffep (A.C. Pollard, Christ’s College, March 16th ‘45); there are a couple of pencilled queries in the margins indicating Pollard was reading this book in relation to his own Cambridge studies.

Schrodinger’s iconic application of a Physicist’s thought processes to a biological philosophy.

“It would be misleading to claim that his discussion of the riddle of life is a book of easy popularization. If it were, it would not be as valuable as in fact it will prove to be; but there is nothing in it beyond the comprehension of the informed man with a will to understand.” (Accurate blurb on front flap.)

This is an excellent copy of one of the 20th Century’s great science books.