Thermodynamics of Self Assembly: An Empirical Example Relating Entropy and Evolution

  • John R. Jungck


Although Sidney Fox is best known for his pioneering contributions in protein chemistry and molecular evolution, I think it should also be recalled that his professional origins were in the thermodynamics of biology. His Ph. D. dissertation (1) reported the measured thermodynamic properties of the compounds which participate in the urea cycle. Hugh Huffman, Fox’s mentor and coauthor of a salient treatise: “The Free Energies of Some Organic Compounds” (2), commented that Fox’s urea work was the first research to unequivocally demonstrate a biochemical reaction requiring linking to another under in vivo conditions (3). It was a clear illustration of “a new point of view which the application of the second law of thermodynamics to physiological questions has introduced” (3).


Calorimetric Data Standard Free Energy Change Phosphate Bond Pioneer Contribution Total Entropy Change 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Jungck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyMerrimack CollegeNorth AndoverUSA

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