The Thermodynamic Machinery of Life

Author: Michal Kurzynski
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 3540336540
Format: PDF, Docs
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Thermodynamics was created in the ?rst half of the 19th century as a theory designed to explain the functioning of heat engines converting heat into mechanical work. In the course of time, while the scope of research in this ?eld was being extended to a wider and wider class of energy transformations, thermodynamics came to be considered as a general theory of machines identi?ed with energy transducers. Imp- tant progress in biochemistry in the ?rst half of the 20th century, and in molecular biology in the second half, made it possible to think of treating even living organisms as machines, at least on the subcellular level. However, success in applying thermodynamics to elucidate the phenomenon of life has been rather mitigated. Two reasons seem to be responsible for this unsatisfactory s- uation. Nineteenth century thermodynamics dealt only with simple (homogeneous) systems in complete equilibrium. Although during the 20th century a nonequilibrium thermodynamics was developed, sta- ing with the Onsager theory of linear response and ending with the Prigogine nonlinear theory of dissipative structures, these theories still concern the originally homogeneous systems. Because living organisms are complex systems with a historically frozen spatial and functional structure, a thermodynamics of both nonequilibrium and complex s- tems is needed for their description. The ?rst goal of the present book is to formulate the foundations of such a thermodynamics.

Life s Ratchet

Author: Peter Hoffmann
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465033369
Format: PDF
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Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what the author calls the molecular storm--specialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the "purpose" that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. Life, the author argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. The book is grounded in the author's own cutting-edge research.-Book Jacket.

The Physical Basis of The Direction of Time

Author: H. Dieter Zeh
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 3540680012
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This thoroughly revised 5th edition of Zeh's classic text investigates irreversible phenomena and their foundation in classical, quantum and cosmological settings. It includes new sections on the meaning of probabilities in a cosmological context, irreversible aspects of quantum computers, and various consequences of the expansion of the Universe. In particular, the book offers an analysis of the physical concept of time.

Quantum Mechanics at the Crossroads

Author: James Evans
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 3540326650
Format: PDF, ePub
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This volume brings together leading quantum physicists to expound on the meaning and future directions of quantum mechanics. It offers new insights from different vantage points to tackle essential questions in quantum mechanics and its interpretation. All the authors have written for a broad readership, and the resulting volume will appeal to everyone wishing to keep abreast of new developments in quantum mechanics, as well as its history and philosophy.

The Second Law of Economics

Author: Reiner Kümmel
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781441993656
Format: PDF
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Nothing happens in the world without energy conversion and entropy production. These fundamental natural laws are familiar to most of us when applied to the evolution of stars, biological processes, or the working of an internal combustion engine, but what about industrial economies and wealth production, or their constant companion, pollution? Does economics conform to the First and the Second Law of Thermodynamics? In this important book, Reiner Kümmel takes us on a fascinating tour of these laws and their influence on natural, technological, and social evolution. Analyzing economic growth in Germany, Japan, and the United States in light of technological constraints on capital, labor, and energy, Professor Kümmel upends conventional economic wisdom by showing that the productive power of energy far outweighs its small share of costs, while for labor just the opposite is true. Wealth creation by energy conversion is accompanied and limited by polluting emissions that are coupled to entropy production. These facts constitute the Second Law of Economics. They take on unprecedented importance in a world that is facing peak oil, debt-driven economic turmoil, and threats from pollution and climate change. They complement the First Law of Economics: Wealth is allocated on markets, and the legal framework determines the outcome. By applying the First and Second Law we understand the true origins of wealth production, the issues that imperil the goal of sustainable development, and the technological options that are compatible both with this goal and with natural laws. The critical role of energy and entropy in the productive sectors of the economy must be realized if we are to create a road map that avoids a Dark Age of shrinking natural resources, environmental degradation, and increasing social tensions.

Brain Mind and the Structure of Reality

Author: Paul L. Nunez
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 019534071X
Format: PDF
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Does the brain create the mind, or is some external entity involved? In addressing this nullhard problemnull of consciousness, we face a central human challenge: what do we really know and how do we know it? Tentative answers in this book follow from a synthesis of profound ideas, borrowed from philosophy, religion, politics, economics, neuroscience, physics, mathematics, and cosmology, the knowledge structures supporting our meager grasps of reality. This search for new links in the web of human knowledge extends in many directions: the nullshadowsnull of our thought processes revealed by brain imagining, brains treated as complex adaptive systems that reveal fractal-like behavior in the brain's nested hierarchy, resonant interactions facilitating functional connections in brain tissue, probability and entropy as measures of human ignorance, fundamental limits on human knowledge, and the central role played by information in both brains and physical systems. In Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality, Paul Nunez discusses the possibility of deep connections between relativity, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and consciousness: all entities involved with fundamental information barriers. Dr Nunez elaborates on possible new links in this nested web of human knowledge that may tell us something new about the nature and origins of consciousness. In the end, does the brain create the mind? Or is the Mind already out there? You decide.

Extreme Events in Nature and Society

Author: Sergio Albeverio
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 354028611X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Significant, and usually unwelcome, surprises, such as floods, financial crisis, epileptic seizures, or material rupture, are the topics of Extreme Events in Nature and Society. The book, authored by foremost experts in these fields, reveals unifying and distinguishing features of extreme events, including problems of understanding and modelling their origin, spatial and temporal extension, and potential impact. The chapters converge towards the difficult problem of anticipation: forecasting the event and proposing measures to moderate or prevent it. Extreme Events in Nature and Society will interest not only specialists, but also the general reader eager to learn how the multifaceted field of extreme events can be viewed as a coherent whole.

Energy Complexity and Wealth Maximization

Author: Robert Ayres
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 331930545X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This book is about the mechanisms of wealth creation, or what we like to think of as evolutionary "progress." The massive circular flow of goods and services between producers and consumers is not a perpetual motion machine; it has been dependent for the past 150 years on energy inputs from a finite storage of fossil fuels. In this book, you will learn about the three key requirements for wealth creation, and how this process acts according to physical laws, and usually after some part of the natural wealth of the planet has been exploited in an episode of "creative destruction." Knowledge and natural capital, particularly energy, will interact to power the human wealth engine in the future as it has in the past. Will it sputter or continue along the path of evolutionary progress that we have come to expect? Can the new immaterial wealth of information and ideas, which makes up the so-called knowledge economy, replace depleted natural wealth? These questions have no simple answers, but this masterful book will help you to understand the grand challenge of our time. Praise for Energy, Complexity and Wealth Maximization: “... people who run the modern world (politicians, economists and lawyers) have a very poor grasp of how it really works because they do not understand the fundamentals of energy, exergy and entropy ... those decision-makers would greatly benefit from reading this book ...” - Vaclav Smil, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Manitoba “... A grandiose design; impressive, worth reading and reflecting!” - Prof. Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizäcker, Founder of Wuppertal Institute; Co-President of the Club of Rome, Former Member of the German Bundestag, co-chair of the UN’s Resource Panel “... The book is a must read for concerned citizens and decision makers across the globe.” - RK Pachauri, Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and ex-chair, International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

LIFE AS A MATTER OF FAT

Author: Ole G. Mouritsen
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319226142
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The present book gives a multi-disciplinary perspective on the physics of life and the particular role played by lipids (fats) and the lipid-bilayer component of cell membranes. The emphasis is on the physical properties of lipid membranes seen as soft and molecularly structured interfaces. By combining and synthesizing insights obtained from a variety of recent studies, an attempt is made to clarify what membrane structure is and how it can be quantitatively described. Furthermore, it is shown how biological function mediated by membranes is controlled by lipid membrane structure and organization on length scales ranging from the size of the individual molecule, across molecular assemblies of proteins and lipid domains in the range of nanometers, to the size of whole cells. Applications of lipids in nanotechnology and biomedicine are also described. The first edition of the present book was published in 2005 when lipidomics was still very much an emerging science and lipids about to be recognized as being as important for life as proteins, sugars, and genes. This significantly expanded and revised edition takes into account the tremendous amount of knowledge gained over the past decade. In addition, the book now includes more tutorial material on the biochemistry of lipids and the principles of lipid self-assembly. The book is aimed at undergraduate students and young research workers within physics, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, nutrition, as well as pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences. From the reviews of the first edition: "This is a highly interesting book and a pleasure to read. It represents a new and excellent pedagogical introduction to the field of lipids and the biophysics of biological membranes. I reckon that physicists and chemists as well as biologists will benefit from this approach to the field and Mouritsen shows a deep insight into the physical chemistry of lipids." (Göran Lindblom, Chemistry and Physics of Lipids 2005, vol. 135, page 105-106) "The book takes the reader on an exciting journey through the lipid world, and Mouritsen attracts the attention with a lively style of writing ... . a comprehensive view of the ‘lipid sea’ can be easily achieved, gaining the right perspectives for envisaging future developments in the nascent field of lipidomics." (Carla Ferreri, ChemBioChem, Vol. 6 (8), 2005)