Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stop the dance

I thought problem 3.3 would make a good discussions for the blog. The problem states that by altering the temperature, extreme cooling and then slow heating, that the hereditary information of the virus is not lost. This tells us that information is not stored in the form of heat and that the information is not significantly degraded in the temperature range of 0-310 K or in terms of avg. kinetic energy: 3/2Kb T = [0, 6.5 x 10^21 J (6.5 pNnm)].

So for the information to be destroyed the chemical bonds (potential energy) between the nucleotides must be broken down (energy transduction to heat) this would tend to happen with greater probability above 6.5 pNnm. Is there a way you can describe the information content in terms of the potential energy between the nucleotides?


  1. Interesting question. Probably a bit more elaboration is needed.

    Information can be measured by entropy? What are the units of entropy in thermodynamics? What are the units when it is not used in thermodynamics (e.g. in information theory)? How would you use this to gain insight into your question.

  2. Well from the free energy equation TS has units of J meaning that S has units of J.K^-1 this is the same as heat capacity (how to relate heat capacity to number of states that this heat can be distributed in?). I think that in information theory the entropy is measured in bits so number of states. It sounds to me like it is easier to measure it using just ATGC - having four possible states at each position.

    Is knowing the more complicated version similar to the situation we discussed in the last meeting about knowing the state of the gas molecules in the box?