What is Life?

An afternoon devoted to Erwin Schrödinger's eponymous question of his book from 1944

The event commemorates the appearance of Erwin Schrödinger’s seminal book “What is Life?” 75 years ago, based on his public lectures on “The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell” at Trinity College, Dublin, in February 1943. 

This small book was very successful as an introduction to the molecular basis of heredity, and both Francis Crick and James Watson independently acknowledged it as source of inspiration for their research which in 1953 led to their model of DNA.


15:30 Welcome

15:40 Karl Sigmund, University of Vienna: 75 Years of ‘What is Life?’

16:30 Peter Schuster, University of Vienna: From ‘What is Life?’ to ‘All Life is Chemistry’

17:30 Coffee Break

17:50 Dieter Schweizer, University of Vienna: Introducing Kim Nasmyth and his contributions to the understanding of what is life

18:00 Kim Nasmyth, University of Oxford: From chromosomes to the aperiodic crystal: only half of the story

Followed by a Reception in the ESI Common Room beginning at 19:00.

Flyer (pdf)

Poster (pdf)

Coming soon.


Name Affiliation
Wolfgang Reiter -
Klaus Schmidt -
Jakob Yngvason -


Name Affiliation
Ashley Nasmyth -
Peter Schuster -
Dieter Schweizer -
Karl Sigmund -
At a glance
Nov. 18, 2019
ESI Boltzmann Lecture Hall
Wolfgang Reiter (U Vienna)
Klaus Schmidt (U Vienna)
Jakob Yngvason (U Vienna)