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Galileo UnboundA Path Across Life, the Universe and Everything$
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David D. Nolte

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805847

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805847.001.0001

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The Measure of Life

The Measure of Life

(p.267) Chapter 11 The Measure of Life
Galileo Unbound

David D. Nolte

Oxford University Press

This final topic of the book extends the ideas of dynamics in abstract spaces of high dimension to encompass the idea of a trajectory of life. Health and disease become dynamical systems defined by all the proteins and nucleic acids that comprise the physical self. Concepts from network theory, autonomous oscillators and synchronization contribute to this viewpoint. Healthy trajectories are like stable limit cycles in phase space, but disease can knock the system trajectory into dangerous regions of health space, as doctors turn to new developments in personalized medicine try to return the individual to a healthy path. This is the ultimate generalization of Galileo’s simple parabolic trajectory.

Keywords:   autonomous oscillator, van der Pol, Lord Rayleigh, Strogatz, Barabasi, small-world effect, scale-free networks, network theory, synchronization, Winfree

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