Towards inclusion of biology in cosmology



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PIRSA Number: 
20010091

Abstract

Cosmologists wish to explain how our universe, in all its complexity, could ever have come about. This is the problem of initial conditions and the first step towards its solution is the assessment of the universe’s entropy today. It is widely agreed upon that the entropy of vacuum energy, given by the Bekenstein bound, makes up the bulk of the current entropy budget, dominating over that of gravity and over thermal motions of the cosmic radiation background.

Have we counted all significant contributions to the entropy inventory? There is one number which we have not considered: the number of degrees of freedom in our vibrant, complex biosphere. What is the entropy of life? Is it sizeable enough to need to be accounted for at the Big Bang, or negligible compared to vacuum entropy?