Physics of Biology

   

Bacteria Talk to Human Cells

Authors: George Rajna

We have a symbiotic relationship with the trillions of bacteria that live in our bodies—they help us, we help them. It turns out that they even speak the same language. [18] This biocell could, in the long run, offer an alternative to fuel cells that require rare and costly metals, such as platinum. [17] Scientists have yet to understand and explain how life's informational molecules – proteins and DNA and RNA – arose from simpler chemicals when life on earth emerged some four billion years ago. [16] Chemists have largely ignored quantum mechanics. But it now turns out that this strange physics has a huge effect on biochemical reactions. [15] Recent developments in atomic-force microscopy have enabled researchers to apply mechanical forces to individual molecules to induce chemical reactions. [14] A newly discovered collective rattling effect in a type of crystalline semiconductor blocks most heat transfer while preserving high electrical conductivity-a rare pairing that scientists say could reduce heat buildup in electronic devices and turbine engines, among other possible applications. [13] Scientists at Aalto University, Finland, have made a breakthrough in physics. They succeeded in transporting heat maximally effectively ten thousand times further than ever before. The discovery may lead to a giant leap in the development of quantum computers. [12] Maxwell's demon, a hypothetical being that appears to violate the second law of thermodynamics, has been widely studied since it was first proposed in 1867 by James Clerk Maxwell. But most of these studies have been theoretical, with only a handful of experiments having actually realized Maxwell's demon. [11] In 1876, the Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann noticed something surprising about his equations that describe the flow of heat in a gas. Usually, the colliding gas particles eventually reach a state of thermal equilibrium, the point at which no net flow of heat energy occurs. But Boltzmann realized that his equations also predict that, when gases are confined in a specific way, they should remain in persistent non-equilibrium, meaning a small amount of heat is always flowing within the system. [10] There is also connection between statistical physics and evolutionary biology, since the arrow of time is working in the biological evolution also.

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[v1] 2017-08-30 13:09:46

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