Towards Autonomous Soft Matter Systems: Experiments on Membranes and Active Emulsions

Springer Science & Business Media
Free sample

This book focuses on the assembly, organization and resultant collective dynamics of soft matter systems maintained away from equilibrium by an energy flux. Living matter is the ultimate example of such systems, which are comprised of different constituents on very different scales (ions, nucleic acids, proteins, cells). The result of their diverse interactions, maintained using the energy from physiological processes, is a fantastically well-organized and dynamic whole. This work describes results from minimal, biomimetic systems and primarily investigates membranes and active emulsions, as well as key aspects of both soft matter and non-equilibrium phenomena. It is shown that these minimal reconstitutions are already capable of a range of complex behaviour such as nonlinear electric responses, chemical communication and locomotion. These studies will bring us closer to a fundamental understanding of complex systems by reconstituting key aspects of their form and function in simple model systems. Further, they may also serve as the first technological steps towards artificial soft functional matter.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Sep 5, 2013
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Pages
127
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ISBN
9783319007359
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Chemistry / Physical & Theoretical
Science / Life Sciences / Biophysics
Science / Mechanics / Fluids
Science / Physics / General
Science / Physics / Mathematical & Computational
Technology & Engineering / Materials Science / General
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"This is science writing as wonder and as inspiration." —The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

From one of the most influential scientists of our time, a dazzling exploration of the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of everything from plants and animals to the cities we live in.

Visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks. The term “complexity” can be misleading, however, because what makes West’s discoveries so beautiful is that he has found an underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, our cities and our businesses.

Fascinated by aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science: West found that despite the riotous diversity in mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. If you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day, what its heart-rate is, how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and so on. Furthermore, the efficiency of the mammal’s circulatory systems scales up precisely based on weight: if you compare a mouse, a human and an elephant on a logarithmic graph, you find with every doubling of average weight, a species gets 25% more efficient—and lives 25% longer. Fundamentally, he has proven, the issue has to do with the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from the organism’s body.

West’s work has been game-changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work’s applicability. Cities, too, are constellations of networks and laws of scalability relate with eerie precision to them. Recently, West has applied his revolutionary work to the business world. This investigation has led to powerful insights into why some companies thrive while others fail. The implications of these discoveries are far-reaching, and are just beginning to be explored. Scale is a thrilling scientific adventure story about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in simple but profound ways. Through the brilliant mind of Geoffrey West, we can envision how cities, companies and biological life alike are dancing to the same simple, powerful tune.
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