Order From Disorder

David Ruelle1 has written, –Scientists know how hard it is to understand simple phenomena like the boiling and freezing of water, and they are not too astonished to find that many questions related to the … functioning of the brain … are for the time being beyond our understanding.” Wouldn't it be an amazing example of serendipity if the two questions were, at root, the same questions? If the conformational transition of a voltage-sensitive ion channel were really a kind of phase transition? Such ideas were already proposed by Ichiji Tasaki for the excitable membrane in the 1960s.2

We have seen that the concept of a mechanical gate opening to admit ions into a preformed pore is not only inadequate but also inappropriate to the molecular scale of a voltage-sensitive ion channel. An effort to provide a viable alternative will require a more sophisticated approach, based on contemporary physical concepts. This chapter is intended to review some of the background needed for such an approach.s


Fractal Dimension Critical Temperature Magnetic Dipole Critical Exponent Dissipative Structure 
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