Physics Department Colloquium: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - Thermodynamics of biological active matter

Event Date: 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 3:45pm

Event Date Details: 

Refreshments served at 3:30pm.

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640
  • Physics Department Colloquium

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.

Nikta Fakhri, MIT