© 2011

Principles of Evolution

From the Planck Epoch to Complex Multicellular Life

  • Hildegard Meyer-Ortmanns
  • Stefan Thurner


  • Displays the current view of science of evolution

  • Presents a systematic interdisciplinary analysis of the development of life

  • Discusses the evolution of social organizations

  • Develops an interdisciplinary view of protein-and citation networks

  • Gives examples for self-organized structures in the universe


Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Hildegard Meyer-Ortmanns
    Pages 1-41
  3. Principles of Evolution

  4. From Random to Complex Structures: The Concept of Self-Organization for Galaxies, Asters, and Spindles

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 173-173
    2. Matthias Bartelmann
      Pages 189-204
    3. Claus Kiefer
      Pages 205-217
    4. Leif Dehmelt, Philippe Bastiaens
      Pages 219-238
  5. Protocells In Silico and In Vitro

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 239-239
    2. Petra Schwille
      Pages 281-293
  6. From Cells to Societies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 295-295
    2. Erwin Frey, Tobias Reichenbach
      Pages 297-329
    3. Karl Sigmund, Christian Hilbe
      Pages 331-347
    4. Byungnam Kahng, Deokjae Lee, Pureun Kim
      Pages 349-365

About this book


With contributions from a team of leading experts, this volume provides a comprehensive survey of recent achievements in our scientific understanding of evolution. The questions it asks concern the beginnings of the universe, the origin of life and the chances of its arising at all, the role of contingency, and the search for universal features in the plethora of evolutionary phenomena. Rather than oversimplified or premature answers, the chapters provide a clear picture of how these essential problems are being tackled, enabling the reader to understand current thinking and open questions.  The tools employed stem from a range of disciplines including mathematics, physics, biochemistry and cell biology. Self-organization as an overarching concept is demonstrated in the most diverse areas: from galaxy formation in the universe to spindle and aster formation in the cell. Chemical master equations, population dynamics, and evolutionary game theory are presented as suitable frameworks for understanding the universal mechanisms and organizational principles observed in a wide range of living units, ranging from cells to societies. This book will provide engaging reading and food for thought for all those seeking a deeper understanding of the science of evolution.


Darwin’s theory Evolutionary games Origin of life Physics of evolution Population genetics

Editors and affiliations

  • Hildegard Meyer-Ortmanns
    • 1
  • Stefan Thurner
    • 2
  1. 1., School of Engineering & ScienceJacobs University BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2., Inst. für Wissenschaft Komplexer SystemeMedizinische Universität WienWienAustria

About the editors

Hildegard Meyer-Ortmanns is full professor and head of the statistical physics group at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. Her area of expertise ranges from general relativity and theoretical particle physics to  statistical physics and its applications to complex systems. Stefan Thurner is Professor of Science of Complex Systems at the Medical  University of Vienna and external professor at the Santa Fe institute.  His area of interest extends from theoretical physics and applied  mathematics to complex systems theory and its applications in  life science and economics.

Bibliographic information

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