January 08, 2013
Noyce Conference Room
Paul G. Falkowski (Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Program, Rutgers University)
Abstract. Life is far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Over the past decade, together with collaborators, I have been analyzing the biochemical reactions responsible for energy generation in all organisms, and we have identified a set of ~500 “core” genes which encode for the energy transduction systems on a planetary scale. In this lecture, I will examine the evolutionary trajectory of these core reactions, culminating in the splitting of water by light and the use of oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor by aerobic microbes. These two, and fifteen other processes, form a global electronic circuit, where individual organisms essentially are transistors on a planetary circuit board. The wires are the two primary geophysical fluids: the ocean and the atmosphere. The primary power supply is solar energy. The output is a self-replicating system that decreases entropy at the cost of increased energy dissipation; a condition that is not amenable to classical Boltzmann functions. The system has a limited number of transistor designs. We have identified 35 basic structural elements, which appear to have a single common ancestor with a core Fe4S4 motif. We are attempting to develop a phylogeny of the core motifs in an effort to understand the evolution of biologically catalyzed redox reactions.
Purpose: Research Collaboration
SFI Host: Rogier Braakman
Scientist Mirta Galesic and artist Raven Chacon present "Creative collaboration in art and science," the fourth annual Chaos to Complexity discussion Saturday afternoon, May 30, in Santa Fe.
In a ceremony Wednesday evening in Santa Fe, SFI awarded science teacher Dave Brooks and ten high school seniors the Institute's 2015 High School Prize for Scientific Excellence.
During an April 8 SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe, statistician Susan Murphy showed how a healthcare decision approach that adapts treatment to each patient over time can improve patient ...
During an SFI Community Lecture March 11 in Santa Fe, MIT's Alex Pentland described ways the mathematical analysis of social networks is fertile ground for understanding human behavior. Watch ...
Register now for SFI's 2015 Short Course — Exploring Complexity in Social Systems and Economics — August 25-27 in Santa Fe.