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What is life? Bio-physical perspectives

G.P. Gladyshev


Life arises and develops in gravitationally bound atomic systems, under certain conditions, in the presence of the inflow of energy. A condition of structural dynamic reactivity to the energy inflow qualifies what are anthropomorphically considered as ‘alive objects’.

Alive objects, in this perspective, can be quantified further as thermodynamic quasi-closed supramolecular systems, which are a part of natural open systems.

These systems appear and evolve in periodic conditions near to internal equilibrium. This systems attribute of dynamic life can be understood further by the determination and use of mathematical ‘state functions’, which are functions that quantify the state of a system defined by the ensemble of physical quantities: temperature, pressure, composition, etc., which characterize the system, but neither by its surroundings nor by its history.

In this view, the phenomenon of a life is easily understood as a general consequence of the laws of the universe, in particular, the laws of thermodynamics, which in the geocentric perspective translate to a formulation of ‘hierarchical thermodynamics’ and a ‘principle of substance stability’. The formation of living thermodynamic structures, in short, arises on the nanolevel by a constantly varying environment that causes variety of living forms.

The definition of a life as the bio-chemical-physical phenomenon can thus be given on the basis of the exact sciences, i.e. chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics, without mention of numerous private attributes of a living substance and without physically baseless models of mathematical modeling, such as Prigoginean thermodynamics.

Keywords: life, evolution, ageing, thermodynamics, nanostructures, environment.


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