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What Sustains Life? An Overview

Abstract

The physicist looks at the expanding universe, disassembling toward disorder, and views increasing disorder as the inevitable flow in nature. The chemist burns the oils that have accumulated over the millennia in the earth’s crust and energizes molecules to react. On a smaller scale, the chemist sees the march toward disorder; the oils become dispersed and disordered gases, and the excited new molecules become dormant. Both physicists and chemists look at living organisms—propagating, assembling, growing—and wonder, how can living matter act in such an inverse way to the nonliving matter of their experiences? On the other hand, biochemists and biophysicists look at molecular systems of a dissected organism and successfully describe a still functional component in terms of the equilibrium laws of physics and chemistry. So, how can living matter seem so different from nonliving matter?

Keywords

Energy Input Energy Conversion Chemical Energy Model Protein Mechanical Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

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