Universiteit Leiden

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Joan van der Waals colloquium

Friday 15 November 2019
Drinks afterwards.
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden
De Sitterzaal

Thermodynamics of biological active matter

Cellular structures constantly consume and dissipate energy on a variety of spatiotemporal scales in order to function. While progress has been made in elucidating their organizing principles, much of their thermodynamics remains unknown. In this talk, I will address the question: why measure dissipation in such nonequilibrium systems? I will show that by measuring a multi-scale irreversibility (time-reversal asymmetry) one can extract model-independent estimates of the time-scales of energy dissipation based on time series data collected in an experimental biological system. I further demonstrate that the irreversibility measure maintains a monotonic relationship with the underlying biological nonequilibrium activity. The basic idea of estimating irreversibility for various levels of coarse-graining is quite general; we expect it to lead to important inferences whenever there is a well-defined notion of dissipative scale.

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