Death - From Microscopic to Macroscopic Disorder

  • Friedrich Cramer
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN, volume 22)


I would like to introduce the problem by looking at the famous drawing of Duürer, presenting his mother at the age of 63 years (Fig. 1). On the first glance, we are overwhelmed by the expression of this old, worn out senile woman, and stirred by the humane, even loving approach which the artist took and which is apparent through the seemingly naturalistic drawing. But let us set aside for this lecture any emotional attitude (can we?). From a scientist’s point of view we can immediately notice several signs of ageing and approaching death. The woman has apparently lost her teeth which is easily noticed from the form of the mouth and chin. Destruction of teeth is a consequence of growth of symbiotic microorganisms which live in every mouth in symbiotic fashion. Somehow, at old age this symbiotic capability is lost. Secondly we notice the protruding and aberrant right eye. The diagnosis is obvious: Glaucoma. The internal pressure of the eye can no longer be regulated and leads to internal high pressure and destruction of the retina. This is a loss of regulatory capacity. Thirdly we notice the wrinkled skin. This is a change in protein composition. Indeed we know that in old age the keratine composition is different. Thus we can state three signs (or reasons?) of ageing and death: loss of symbiotic capability, loss of regulatory capability, change in proteins.


Protein Biosynthesis Symbiotic Microorganism Emotional Attitude Wrinkled Skin Dimensional Interaction 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Friedrich Cramer
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung ChemieMax-Planck-Institut für Experimentelle MedizinGöttingenFed. Rep. of Germany

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