Clas Blomberg; Research interest, General description.

"Statistical Physics" is a branch of physics that studies the connections between various levels of descriptions of the physical world.

Objects such as we see them are composed by a large number of atoms, and we want to understand how these influence general properties. For that, we need not know the atomic details but use a statistical picture, based upon atomic features. This makes it possible to understand and describe various properties, in particular those that are related to temperature and temperature changes. For example, one can understand why there occur various phases such as gases, liquids and solids with sharp transitions between them.

In this field, I work with applications to the processes of living systems, what can be called biological physics or simply physics of life. The basic processes that govern the phenomenon of life are the same as those that govern "dead matter" and they are based on the same general laws of physics. The aim for me and my group are to apply a physical view for biological objects and processes in living organisms. Particular questions concern the understanding the functions of the large macromolecules, proteins and nucleic acids (DNA) that govern all living properties. Determining factors for such functions are the structures of the macromolecules and the possibilities to change structure under the influence of various chemical compounds or external factors such as light.

Other questions concern features of coupled reactions in a cell and their efficiency. Most recently, I consider neural signalling and irregular features (such as noise) that influence the signals. Does the neural system use what is called "chaos", apparently irregular signals, generated in a systematic, relatively simple way? In that case, what is it used for? And how can we just by observing the appearance, distinguish chaos from various types of noise?

As a physicist with interest in the processes of life, it is natural to ask how life could have started. How simple can a living system be? What obstacles were there that had to be overcome? Could the functions of life have been developed successively or how could they have appeared?

Besides these questions I am interested in the history of science and general scientific aspects as can be seen from my popular science contributions.

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