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Physics of Life - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780444527981, 9780080554648

Physics of Life

1st Edition

The Physicist's Road to Biology

Author: Clas Blomberg
Hardcover ISBN: 9780444527981
eBook ISBN: 9780080554648
Imprint: Elsevier Science
Published Date: 1st October 2007
Page Count: 436
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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.

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


Students, researchers and professionals in physics and biology

Table of Contents

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


No. of pages:
© Elsevier Science 2007
1st October 2007
Elsevier Science
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

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

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