From Physics to Biology by Extending Criticality and Symmetry Breakings

  • Giuseppe LongoEmail author
  • Maël Montévil
Part of the Lecture Notes in Morphogenesis book series (LECTMORPH)


In comparison to modern physics, symmetries play a radically different role in biology.By arguing on the relation between symmetries and conservation and stability properties in physics, we posit that the dynamics of biological organisms, in their various levels of organization, are not “just” processes, but permanent (extended, in our terminology) critical transitions and, thus, symmetry changes.Within the limits of a relative structural stability (or interval of viability), variability is at the core of these transitions. And biological adaptivity and diversity are a consequence of it.


symmetries systems biology critical transitions levels of organization coherent structures downward causation variability 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Interdisciplinaire Cavaillès (CIRPHLES) CNRS and Ecole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  2. 2.Anatomy and Cell Biology Tuft UniversityBostonUSA

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