Physics of Life, 1st Edition

The Physicist's Road to Biology

Physics of Life, 1st Edition,Clas Blomberg,ISBN9780444527981


Elsevier Science




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Key Features

- Describes how physics is needed for understanding basic principles of biology
- Discusses the delicate balance between order and disorder in living systems
- Explores how physics play a role high biological functions, such as learning and thinking


The purpose of the book is to give a survey of the physics that is relevant for biological applications, and also to discuss what kind of biology needs physics. The book gives a broad account of basic physics, relevant for the applications and various applications from properties of proteins to processes in the cell to wider themes such as the brain, the origin of life and evolution. It also considers general questions of common interest such as reductionism, determinism and randomness, where the physics view often is misunderstood. The subtle balance between order and disorder is a repeated theme appearing in many contexts. There are descriptive parts which shall be sufficient for the comprehension of general ideas, and more detailed, formalistic parts for those who want to go deeper, and see the ideas expressed in terms of mathematical formulas.


Students, researchers and professionals in physics and biology

Clas Blomberg

Born 1936, Clas Blomberg has a PhD in theoretical physics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm 1966. He has been a Professor there since 1986. He started studies in statistical mechanics, and since mid-70:s worked with theoretical physics problems with relevance to biology. He built up a successful research group at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Affiliations and Expertise

Theoretical Biological Physics Group (KTH), Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Physics of Life, 1st Edition

I. General Introduction
1. Introduction
2. Physics of Life. Physics of Two Levels
II. Basic Physics Concepts
3. Concepts and Numerical Reference
4. Basis of Classical (Newtonian) Dynamics
5. Electricity - The Core of Reductionism Basis
6. Quantum mechanics
7. Basic Thermodynamics; Introduction
8. Statistical Thermodynamics
III. The General Trends and the Objects
9. Some Trends in 20th Century Physics
10. From Simple to Complex Systems
11. Theoretical Physics Models; Important Analogies
12. The Biological Objects
13. What is Life?
IV. Going Further with Thermodynamics
14. Thermodynamic Formalism and Examples
15. Examples of Entropy and Order/Disorder
16. Statistical Thermodynamics Models
V. Stochastic Dynamics
17. Basic Probability Concepts
18. Stochastic Processes
19. Random Walk*
20. Stochastic Step Processes; Master Equations*
21. Brownian Motion, First Description*
22. Diffusion and Continuous Stochastic Processes*
23. Brownian Motion, Continuation*
VI. Basic Macromolecular Applications
24. Protein Folding and Structure Dynamics
25. Basis of Enzyme Kinetics
VII Non-linearity
26. General Introduction to Non-linearity
27. Oscillations and Space Variations*
28. Deterministic Chaos
29. Noise and Nonlinear Phenomena
VIII. Applications
30. Recognition and Selection in Biological Processes
31. Brownian Ratchet, Unidirectional Processes
32. Neural System
33. Origin of Life
IX Going Further
34. Physics Aspects on Evolution
35. Determinism and Randomness
36. Higher Functions of Life
37. About the Direction of Time
38. We are in the Best of Worlds; The Anthropic Principle
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