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Physics Colloquium

Thursday, January 30, 2020
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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East Bridge 201 (Richard P. Feynman Lecture Hall)
Arrow of time in fluctuations of living systems
Nikta Fakhri, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Systems in thermodynamic equilibrium are not only characterized by time-independent macroscopic properties, but also satisfy the principle of detailed balance in the transitions between microscopic configurations. In contrast, living systems operate far from equilibrium, and molecular-scale violations of detailed balance lie at the heart of their dynamics. While progress has been made in elucidating organizing principles of living systems, much of their thermodynamics remains unknown. In this talk, I will introduce frameworks from nonequilibrium statistical physics to probe for broken detailed balance and time-reversal asymmetry in biological systems and demonstrate how such nonequilibrium dynamics are manifest at the mesoscopic scale.