• Biology

    How Living Systems Violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics

    When James Clerk Maxwell proposed the second law of thermodynamics, he envisioned a thought experiment in which two chambers of gas were joined by a small door under the control of a ‘demon’ who would selectively open the door depending on which direction the gas molecules were moving. If we think of the two chambers as containing mixtures of blue and red molecules, and they were randomly flitting about, the demon would open the door just as a red molecule was about to move into the right chamber or a blue molecule was about to move into the left. The door would remain closed otherwise. If such a demon were…