Reply to Professor Ageno’s Letter: Does Quantum Mechanics Exclude Life?

  • E. P. Wigner
  • P. T. Landsberg
Part of the The Scientific Papers book series (WIGNER, volume A / 3)


Prof. Ageno iS correct in quoting inorganic examples of self-duplicating states. Living objects can certainly not be defined by this property alone and this was not our intention. Self-reproduction is, however, one of the properties which has to be discussed from the point of view of quantum mechanics in connexion with living objects. Such a discussion seems to be of interest1, even though it can only be very speculative (as pointed out in our publications), since a living system is always large by quantum mechanical standards. We were, therefore, interested in dealing with methods of analysing this problem and in developing assumptions which might reasonably be made in this connexion. As our under­standing of these questions increases, one may hope that other features of living matter can be introduced into the argument to make it more specific.


  1. 1.
    Commonor, B., in Horizons in Biochemistry, edit, by Kasha, M., and Pullman, B. (Academic Press, New York, 1962). Mora, P. T., Nature, 199, 212 (1963).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. P. Wigner
    • 1
  • P. T. Landsberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.University College of South Wales and MonmouthshireCardiffUK

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