LMP Seminar: Driving systems away from equilibrium by thermal gradients

LMP Seminar

  • Date: May 25, 2021
  • Time: 14:00 - 15:30
  • Speaker: Prof. Dr. Paolo de los Rios
  • Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • Location: Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation (MPIDS)
  • Room: Video conference at www.zoom.us Meeting ID: 997 1155 2453 Passcode: 771001
  • Host: MPIDS / LMP
  • Contact: vincent.ouazan-reboul@ds.mpg.de
How did Life emerged? We do not know and we might never know the specific details. But we may address the general principles that could make Life, if not inevitable, at least likely given the right conditions. A liquid environment and a suitable temperature for reactions between organic molecules to occur is of course necessary. But Life as we know it is intrinsically a non-equilibrium phenomenon. In this talk I will show some recent results showing that in the presence of external energy sources, here a thermal gradient, the populations of higher energy chemical states, that are not favorable in equilibrium conditions, can be increased up to making them the most likely states. These results are a consequence of the interplay between chemical reactions and transport. Intriguingly, a byproduct of our studies is a potential theory of thermophoresis, a phenomenon characterized about 150 years ago which is still in search of a rigorous explanation.
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