By Philip Nelson
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Extra resources for Biological physics. Energy, information, life
For example, the quantity 1 m is equal to the quantity 1000 mm. 54 cm, and reexpress it as 1 in = 1. 54 cm Then we take any expression and multiply or divide by one, cancelling the undesired units. 8 1 in in m 100 cm · = 386 2 . 54 cm s Finally, no dimensional quantity can be called “large” in any absolute sense. Thus a speed of 1 cm s−1 may seem slow to you, but it’s impossibly fast to a bacterium. ” Finding relevant dimensionless combinations of parameters is often a key step to classfying the qualitative properties of a system.
A. 072 J/m2 . Estimate N . b. Assuming the molecules are closely packed, estimate the approximate molecule diameter. c. What estimate for Avogadro’s number do you get? 7 Tour de France A bicycle rider in the Tour de France eats a lot. If his total daily food intake were burned it would liberate about 8000 kcal of heat. Over the three or four weeks of the race his weight change is negligible, less than 1%. Thus his energy input and output must balance. Let’s ﬁrst look at the mechanical work done by the racer.
For example, even after Watson and Crick’s discovery that the DNA molecule was a very long sentence written in an alphabet with four letters (see Chapter 3), attention did not focus at once on the importance of ﬁnding the dictionary, or code, relating sequences of those letters to the 20-letter alphabet of amino acids constituting proteins. Thinking about the problem as one in information transfer led George Gamow, a physicist interested in biology, to write an inﬂuential paper in 1954 asking this question and suggesting that answering it might not be so diﬃcult as it at ﬁrst seemed.