viernes, 12 de diciembre de 2014

Life may be inevitable

A new paper by MIT physicist Jeremy England posits that the occurrence of life is a matter of inevitability. England used a new model formulated on established theories in physics to conclude that matter will generally develop into systems that, when “driven by an external source of energy” and “surrounded by a heat bath,” become increasingly efficient at dissipating energy.

Business Insider:
You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said.

At the heart of England’s idea is the second law of thermodynamics, also known as the law of increasing entropy or the “arrow of time. Hot things cool down, gas diffuses through air, eggs scramble but never spontaneously unscramble; in short, energy tends to disperse or spread out as time progresses. Entropy is a measure of this tendency, quantifying how dispersed the energy is among the particles in a system, and how diffuse those particles are throughout space. It increases as a simple matter of probability: There are more ways for energy to be spread out than for it to be concentrated.
Thus, as particles in a system move around and interact, they will, through sheer chance, tend to adopt configurations in which the energy is spread out.

England’s model has already garnered a number of critics among his peers. Where some academics praise him for trying a “radically different” approach, others were less impressed by the speculative nature of his work.

We’ve had a consistent model for the development and diversity of life in the form of evolution for some time now. What remains to be addressed, however, is the origin of life from non-living matter, also known as abiogenesis. England’s work appears to address this, and could raise hopes of replicating life from non-living matter, and help in the search for life on other planets.

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image credit: Wikipedia

ORIGINAL: Science Dump
by Rowdy
Thu, 12/11/2014

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