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Edge.org: Q-Bio, the most interesting recent [scientific] news
Applied mathematicians and theoretical physicists are rushing to develop new sophisticated tools that can capture the other, non-genomic challenges posed in trying to quantify biology. One of these challenges is that the number of individuals in a community may be large, but not as large as there are molecules of gas in your lungs, for example. So the traditional tools of physics based on statistical modeling have to be upgraded to deal with the large fluctuations encountered, such as in the number of proteins in a cell or individuals in an ecosystem. Another fundamental challenge is that living systems need an energy source.

They are inherently out of thermodynamic equilibrium, and so cannot be described by the century-old tools of statistical thermodynamics developed by Einstein, Boltzmann and Gibbs. Stanislaw Ulam, a mathematician who helped originate the basic principle behind the hydrogen bomb, once quipped, “Ask not what physics can do for biology. Ask what biology can do for physics.” Today, the answer is clear: biology is forcing physicists to develop new experimental and theoretical tools to explore living cells in action.
bio  trends  science  interdisciplinary  physics  thermo  org:edge  giants  einstein  boltzmann  stat-mech  equilibrium  complex-systems  cybernetics 
november 2016 by nhaliday

bundles : academepeepsphysics

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