Everything alive will eventually die, we know that, but now we can read the pattern and see death coming. We have recently learned its logic, which "You can put into mathematics," says physicist Geoffrey West. It shows up with "extraordinary regularity," not just in plants, but in all animals, from slugs to giraffes. Death, it seems, is intimately related to size.
West is a physicist. Big pictures interest him. Small stories don't. He's not the gentlest of beings when criticized, but science has never been a gentle occupation.
But that said, Professor West's paper on quarter power scaling has been cited by other scientists more than 1,500 times since it was published. By any measure, that's a lot. The New York Times called it one of the most "influential papers in modern biology." So while it may irritate, this idea has weight.