Special Issue "Dissipative Structuring in Life"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2023) | Viewed by 11770
Interests: origin of life; homochirality; ecosystems; non-equilibrium thermodynamics; dissipative structuring
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A dissipative system can be described as a collection of material exposed to an impressed flow (referred to as a generalized thermodynamic force) from its external environment of some conserved quantity of nature (mass, energy, momentum, angular momentum, charge, etc.) which, as a consequence of interactions occurring within the material of the system, outputs to the environment a certain flow of the same quantity but distributed over a greater number of microscopic degrees of freedom. This process is known as “dissipation”, and its unfailing occurrence in macroscopic non-equilibrium systems is known as “the second law of thermodynamics”.
For such dissipative systems under constant boundary conditions, particularly for regimes where the internal flows of the conserved quantities become non-linearly related to the impressed external flow (force), Ilya Prigogine showed that the system may come to a stationary state in which the conserved quantities take on stationary values in time while the system itself can manifest symmetry breaking in both space and time (i.e., structures and dynamical processes may arise within the system, which can be persistent) and he termed these structures “dissipative structures”. Boltzmann had already anticipated this result in 1871 when he suggested in somewhat different terms that life was a dissipative process dependent on absorbing sunlight from the environment and converting these visible photons into many more infrared photons (heat). Schrodinger popularized this original idea of Boltzmann in his book entitled “What is Life?” published in 1944. It has now come to be generally accepted that all life can be described as the dissipative structuring of material operating in non-equilibrium thermodynamic stationary states and that these structures are assigned by nature the thermodynamic function of dissipating one or more of the impressed potentials from the environment. For non-linear (e.g., autocatalytic) systems, many stationary states may exist, and the system may evolve from one such state to another depending on fluctuations and the local stability of the state.
This Special Issue takes a close look at the details of this fascinating process of dissipative structuring in life. Since its beginnings at the origin of life in the Archean, to the molecular machines operating within the cell, to the existence today of the global dissipative system known as the biosphere, all aspects of the dissipative structuring in life are valid topics for this Special Issue. The emphasis is on explaining particular life structures or processes from the perspective of dissipative structuring by identifying the impressed external potentials (forces), the internal flows, and the particular couplings of internal flows, which give rise to the dissipative structuring of the material. The relation of entropy production to this structuring, and to the evolution of the system over different structurings (stationary states), are also topics to be considered.
Dr. Karo Michaelian
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- Dissipative Structuring
- Photon-Induced Self-Organization
- Origin of Life
- Molecular Motors
- Cell Division
- Cellular Processes
- Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics
- Entropy Production