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Posted: July 8, 2008

Researchers demonstrate the role of thermodynamics at a molecular scale and establish a new bridge between physics, chemistry and biology

(Nanowerk News) Dr David Andrieux and Pr Pierre Gaspard (Francqui Prize 2006) from the Center for Nonlinear Phenomena and Complex Systems and the Faculty of Sciences of UniversitÉ Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Belgium have applied the laws of thermodynamics down to the molecular scale and discovered theoretically that the molecular structure of copolymers – such as DNA – may be arranged in order when they are synthetized out of the thermodynamic equilibrium while they stay disorganized when in equilibrium.
Probably for the first time, the emergence of such an order is discovered at the molecular scale on the basis of the thermodynamics of irreversible processes. This remarkable result allows the detailed understanding of the thermodynamic origins of the order and the directionality manifesting themselves down to the molecular scale in living organisms and this in terms of physico-chemical laws : in this way, the researchers have established a new bridge between physics, chemistry and biology.
Their research is published in the prestigious PNAS journal.
Scientific information :

Center for Nonlinear Phenomena and Complex Systems and the Faculty of Sciences - ULB

Prof. Pierre Gaspard, +32 (0)2 650 57 93 ou gaspard@ulb.ac.be

Source: Université Libre de Bruxelles