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Lecture 1 Cellular Metabolism.docx

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Biological Sciences
Jason Brown

Metabolism 1 Cellular Metabolism Slide 1 Animals are highly ordered systems There are three basic statements that animals are highly ordered systems This is a picture with several levels of structural organizations of animals These animals are composed of several organ systems which are composed of several organs and those organs are composed of several tissues which themselves are composed of cells which are composed of molecules and atoms and so forth These organisms sort of assemble themselves to form populations and ecosystems Animals are pretty highly organized systems But animals dont start off their lives as highly ordered systems Most animals start off as a single cell which is much simpler compared to their highly ordered adult counterpart They undergo this complex development They undergo this progressive increase in complexity over their lifetime Now if you think about animals in their evolutionary history by looking at an evolution tree the simple animals at the bottom include sponges with very few cell types and very few tiny tissues and then they progressively evolve into complex animals Therefore there is this evolutionary trend by increasing the complexity of the animal So animals themselves are highly ordered and throughout their lifetime they become more highly ordered and also throughout their evolutionary time they are getting more highly orderedndSLIDE 2 Animals are highly ordered systems doesnt that violate the 2 law of thermodynamics This bugs scientists and physicists because isnt the fact that animals are highly ordered systems violating the second law of thermodynamics The second law of thermodynamics states Isolated systems are spontaneously move towards the way of maximum entropy disorder At first this sounds strange that animals are highly ordered organisms and become more so over evolutionary time and throughout their life development At first it may seem like the violation of the second law of thermodynamics The first two words of the second law are isolated systems What we mean by a system that is isolated is when it cant exchange energy or mass with the surroundings Animals are simply not isolated systems Animals do exchange energy and mass with their environment An example of an isolated system does include the universe Therefore the second law of thermodynamics does apply to the universe where it doesnt exchange mass or energy with its surroundings therefore the universe is moving towards a state of maximum entropy But the things such as organisms within the universe are not bound by the second law of thermodynamics and thus are not isolated systems At the same time animals live in the universe and are still part of the universe The second law of thermodynamics does not apply to them in a certain way but since they are part of the universe it applies to them indirectly The way in which animals fit into this second law of thermodynamics is if we think about the types of energy we are exchanging with the environment typically animals will take in chemical energy the food we eat chemical energy means the energy trapped in chemical bonds in molecules and molecules are very structurally ordered things Animals release energy though mostly through the form of heat What animals seem to be doing and how they fit into the second law of thermodynamics is they are actually taking from their surroundings organized forms of energy like chemical energy and releasing back into the environment highly disorganized forms of energy that being heat energy So animals themselves are highly organized and can maintain a highly organized system but they do so by increasing disorder and increasing entropy of the universe This idea of animals not being contradictory to the second law of thermodynamics this was figured out by a physicist an author of the book What is Life published in the 1940s
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