"How in the world did something as organized as a human being ever come to be? ... Think of mixing cream into coffee ... At the beginning, the system is low-entropy. There are relatively few ways to rearrange the atoms in the cream and coffee without changing its macroscopic appearance ... At the end, everything is mixed together and the entropy is relatively high ... It's the intermediate stage, in between low entropy and high entropy, where things look complex. Tendrils of cream reach into the coffee in intricate and beautiful ways ... Those swirls in the cream mixing into the coffee? That's us. Ephemeral patterns of complexity, riding a wave of increasing entropy from simple beginnings to a simple end."
- Sean Carroll, The Big Picture
This is a beautiful analogy of the universe as it transitions from its low-entropy, Big Bang beginning, to its distant future, high-entropy diffusion of particles. Life is possible in the interim because there is free energy available that allows complex molecules to form and interact in near infinite ways. Given enough time and variety of conditions these molecules can become self replicating and as Charles Darwin put it, "from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
|Oil on Panel, 7x7 in|