This book is part of a two-part program focused on the broad theme of “biochemistry and fine-tuning.” Fitness of the Cosmos for Life began with a symposium held at Harvard University in October 2003 in honor of the 90th anniversary of the publication of Lawrence J. Henderson's The Fitness of the Environment. The symposium was an interdisciplinary, exploratory research meeting of scientists and other scholars that served as a stimulus for the creative thinking process used in developing the content of this book. The chapters in this volume were developed following the symposium and take advantage of the rich technical and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas that occurred during the in-person discussions.
The Fitness of the Cosmos program has provided a high-level forum in which innovative research leaders could present their ideas. In the spirit of multidisciplinarity, the fields represented by the meeting participants and book contributors are diverse. From the sciences, the fields of physics, astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, organic and inorganic chemistry, biology, biochemistry, earth science, medicine, and biomedical engineering are represented; the humanistic disciplines represented include the history of science, philosophy, and theology.
This volume explores in greater depth issues around which the 2003 meeting was convened. It addresses the broad inquiry Is the cosmos “biocentric” and “fitted” for life? Keeping this question in mind, the authors presented their thoughts in the context of their own research and knowledge of others' writings on topics of “fitness” and “fine-tuning.” This work pays tribute to the groundbreaking inquiry of L. J. Henderson.