A few years back, a remarkable new hypothesis made its way into the scientific zeitgeist – namely, that life is an inevitable consequence of physics. England’s hypothesis is a key bridge between physics and biology. They are the exceptions to an increasingly disordered universe, something first highlighted by Schrodinger’s seminal 1944 essay What Is Life? That’s the universe; the dots, in this case, can be pockets of biological life.
England is suggesting that biology arises because, in certain environments – like on planets – where the energy balance is so out of whack, physics guarantees that atoms rearrange themselves to be able to deal with the chaotic flow of energy.
Just using the laws of physics, life appears and replicates without needing anything other than a few basic chemicals and the Sun.
Admittedly, life is defined pretty poorly, but some are suggesting that the life-like arrangements seen in England’s work are too abstract to be properly referred to as being “Alive”.