What life is .pdf
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What life is
Life results from the evolution of a least action principle (stationary-action principle) inside
matter. In the follow-up statements, we take care to identify the principle of least action (or
stationary-action principle) with a principle of maximum information. It allows us to discard any
ultimate cause where information in itself is an efficient cause.
The principle of least action (or principle of maximum information) evolves in stages. We will
arbitrarily name three of those stages : physics, chemistry and biology. We reserve a fourth stage for
our conclusion : biological society.
For physics stage, proof has been made of the principle of least action, even if we don’t call it
principle of maximum information yet. Any work of reference will do, especially if it contains
mathematical formula (which we won’t quote here). To simplify, any body in motion, going from A to
B, follows the trajectory that minimize action. Dimensions of this action are expressed as the product
of energy by time (E x t).
For the chemistry and biology stages, we observe that chemical and enzyme catalysis also
minimize action in the same way : activation energy and reaction time, the trajectory follows that
from a A product to a B product. The catalyst brings information that helps reaction by decreasing the
energy and time of this reaction (E x t). When the trajectory of least action is realized, the catalyst is
freed, while keeping the same information power.
We propose to replace the expression “least action” (or “stationary-action”) with “maximal
information” to generalize the concept.
We cannot deny that enzyme is the basis of life, therefore a cell’s DNA is a data bank, based on
programs implementing least action. We think a significant amount of unsuccessful trials, similar to
path integrals, already did take place before the development of a successful model.
We may put forward, about the fourth stage, that biological societies follow a principle of
maximum information, for instance, in energy optimization under all its forms, and in timing
Wether in an inanimate body, an animate body, in the principle of least action or in evolutionary
theory, it always come to a body reacting to the action of conflicting forces by optimization or under
constraint. Optimization is synonymous with information.
To answer Stephen Hawking’s question, it is not about the storage or loss of information, rather
that in particular circumstances, information is lacking.
Physics and mathematics are tied further : Gödel’s incompleteness is information’s
To repeat ourselves : we should not confuse the information we derived from a system with the
information available to this system.
Information has no real status in science yet.
Martin-Robine, Florence (2006). Histoire du principe de moindre action. Vuibert.
Basdevant, Jean-Louis (2010). Le principe de moindre action (2e éd). Vuibert.
Capron, Eric (2016). Cosmic inflation and hidden thermodynamics of isolated particles.