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Book Review: The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms by Mae-Wan Ho


Finally, a book that merges biology and quantum physics that is clearly written and filled with fascinating descriptive examples. In 312 pages and 20 chapters, Mae-Wan Ho takes a careful inquiry into the fundamental question, “What is life?” She brings a new perspective to this question by explaining the physics of organisms from non-equilibrium thermodynamics and quantum optics to liquid crystals and fractals. She presents a refreshing holistic view of biological science that was never understood from Newtonian physics.


This much-enlarged third edition includes new findings on the central role of biological water in organizing living processes; it also completes the author's novel theory of the organism and its applications in ecology, physiology, and brain science.


She consistently applies thermodynamics to living systems. Apparently, to be considered a "serious" scientist one is now expected to apply thermodynamics to everything. This book should open the door for those wishing to explore thermodynamic concepts of living systems.


Her book is filled with many “ah ha” passages that make it a true page-turner. For me, her chapters on crystal consciousness and water crystals bring back much of Masaru Emoto, whose work describes how water was a "blueprint for our reality" and that emotional "energies" and "vibrations" could change its physical structure.


This book is a coming together of many exciting ideas of quantum physics and biology that expresses life as a “process of being an organized whole”. In exploring this process, the reader is indulged in a unique and delightful view of the organism, gaining novel insights not only into the physics but also into “the poetry and meaning of being alive.”


Review by James Odell, OMD, ND, L.Ac.