Thermodynamics in biology is the study of energy transfer within and between cells, organisms, and their environment, including the underlying chemical reactions.

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Why is statistical mechanics relevant to RNA and protein folding?

This is a very naive question. As far as I understand the folding of a molecule is governed by the electromagnetic forces between its atoms and also between its atoms and the atoms in the surrounding ...
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What were the camels' humps good for back in the polar areas?

I've heard that camels lived in the North America formerly and just in the last few thousands years they've migrated to the hot deserts. Thus they allegedly utilized the adaptations against the cold ...
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Why don't membrane proteins move?

I understand that based on their tertiary structure, intrinsic proteins have hydrophobic non-polar R-groups on their surface and that they 'interact with the hydrophobic core of the cell membrane to ...
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94 views

Thermoregulation Question

I had the following question on an exam of mine and I got it wrong, so I was wondering if someone could help explain the reasoning to me. Below I list my explanation. An overheated and sick dog in ...
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Entropy and Open Systems - AP Biology

I had the following question on an exam of mine and I got the points for the question, but I am wondering if someone could please explain why it is correct, or rather, if it is correct at all: As ...
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Meaning of 'forms of free energy'?

I was doing a practice exam paper and it asked for different 'forms of free energy'. I am a physicist rather then a biologist so 'free energy' to me means Gibb's Free Energy: $$G=H-TS$$ But I cannot ...
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Kinetic Vs Potential Energy in Biochemical Contexts

This question is causing great confusion in my head. Which of the following is an example of potential rather than kinetic energy? A) the muscle contractions of a person mowing grass B) water ...
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447 views

What does these $\Delta \Delta G$ numbers signify?

I was reading a paper and came across this table showing $ \Delta \Delta G$ numbers of different nucleotide sequences in DNA/RNA. I know that $\Delta G$ is free energy and $ \Delta \Delta G$ is ...
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How does it make thermodynamic sense for photosynthesizers to turn CO₂ into O₂?

My understanding is that animal metabolism consists of exothermic reactions like $$\ce{C6H12O6 + 6 O2 ->6 CO2 + 6 H2O + energy}$$ This makes thermodynamic sense to me. Animals need an exothermic ...
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Why do plants produce so much more sugar than they use?

I recently asked the question, "Do plants need O2 to consume energy they've stored via sugar?" to which @canadianer responded, "Yes, plants require oxygen to generate ATP from sugar. However, they ...
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Do plants need O₂ to consume energy they've stored via sugar?

This question came up as I work my way through the answers to another question I just asked. My understanding is that plant photosynthesis looks something like this (though with lots more going on ...
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793 views

Thermodynamics of Forming Peptide Bonds

Which of the following shows the correct changes in thermodynamic properties for a chemical reaction in which amino acids are linked to form a protein? A) +ΔH, +ΔS, +ΔG B) +ΔH, -ΔS, -ΔG C) +...
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Relationship Between Evolution and the Increase of Entropy of Earth

I was confronted by this question: Biological evolution of life on Earth, from simple prokaryote-like cells to large, multicellar eukaryotic organisms, A) has occurred in accordance with the laws ...
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What is a coupled reaction and why do cells couple reactions?

I was wondering what exactly a coupled reaction is and why cells couple them. I read the wikipedia article as well as several others, such as life.illinois.edu but I still don't get it. Could ...
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What is an irreversible reaction?

There are reactions with large Delta G negative values. Why these reactions are irreversible? As in: out of 10 steps of Glycolysis, 3 are irreversible steps. I need an explanation for why they are ...
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A question about the intersection of evolution and thermodynamics

From this 2014 article in Quanta magazine by Natalie Wolchover there is a quote from a physicist with an intriguing idea about evolution: “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine ...
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How do warm-blooded animals keep their temperatures constant?

Warm blooded animals like us keep their temperature constant irrespective of their surroundings. But how do they do that? Energy should be supplied from the inside. I assume that reactions like making ...
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Why isn't the phosphoglycerate kinase reaction of the glycolysis pathway irreversible?

Step 7 of the glycolysis pathway is the conversion of 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate into 3-phosphoglycerate by the action of the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase, resulting in the production of 2 ATP ...
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Why do peas change colour?

I am doing an experiment on preservation of peas. The first notable change to the peas over a period of one week is that they have changed colour from bright green to a dull colour... Why is this so?...
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Doesn't osmosis violate the law of conservation of energy?

Osmosis seems very counter-intuitive to me. I will try to explain my doubt with the following thought experiment: Consider a huge container divided into two by a semi-permeable membrane. We add equal ...
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When a Lysosome's bonding sites all get bonded to, what is the most resource and energy efficient way to handle the used Lysosome?

Let's say a Lysosome that bonds to a hazardous material to neutralize it has all bonding sites used up. would it be more safe / efficient to excrete the entire Lysosome / hazardous material molecule ...
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1answer
977 views

Why does the hydrolysis of ATP increasing entropy increase the Phosphoryl-­‐transfer Potential?

I am currently taking a biology class. I do not understand this concept. I understand that the electrostatic repulsion of the negative charges, resonance stabilization and hydration stabilization all ...
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How to quantitatively measure work done by a biological system?

Thermodynamic efficiency can be expressed as the ratio of Work done(W) to Energy invested (Q). Thermodynamic efficiency= W/Q How can one measure work done by a ...
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How does water buffer a sudden drop in temperature?

A property of water is that it is slow to heat and cool. According to my biology book, some energy from an increase in temperature would spent breaking hydrogen bonds, so that temperature does not ...