© 2006

The Thermodynamic Machinery of Life

  • A must for all biophysicists and cell biologists as well as interdisciplinary interested physicists and chemists


Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

About this book


Living organisms are open thermodynamic systems whose functional structure has developed and been kinetically frozen during the historical process of biological evolution. A thermodynamics of both nonequilibrium and complex systems is needed for their description. In this book, the foundations of such a thermodynamics are presented. Biological processes at the cellular level are considered as coupled chemical reactions and transport processes across internal and the cytoplasmic membrane. All these processes are catalyzed by specific enzymes hence the kinetics of enzymatic catalysis and its control are described here in detail. The coupling of several processes through a common enzyme is considered in the context of free energy or signal transduction. Special attention is paid to evidence for a rich stochastic internal dynamics of native proteins and its possible role in the control of enzyme activity and in the action of biological molecular machines.


Biological molecular machines Biophysics Cytoplasma Enzymatic catalysis Nonequilibrium thermodynamics catalysis chemical reactions enzymes molecular biology physiology signal transduction thermodynamics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PhysicsAdam Mickiewicz UniversityPoznanPoland

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From the reviews:

“The book seamlessly presents the historical and philosophical evolution of a fundamental principle … and develops the implications of the principle in a staggeringly wide range of contexts. … a work that is engaging, lucid and supremely approachable. … the warmth and sincerity of the writing make this book a joy … . Highly recommended.” (Philosophy, Religion and Science Book Reviews,, May, 2014)