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Topics in Depth

Potential and Kinetic Energy

Energy, Cells, and the Creation of OrderDo you think of yourself as the peaceful, laid-back type? Think again. Every second of your life is a standoff of epic proportions. In fact, your body is try...

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

You may have figured out that no good standoff, either between biology and physics or you and your folks on Saturday night, can happen without a good amount of energy. What is this biological stand...

The First Law of Thermodynamics

Why can't heat energy be easily converted back into another form of energy? Excellent question. This belatedly introduces the first law of thermodynamics. Talk about being late to the party.The fir...

Order

What makes your cells amazing is that they use heat energy to produce order. See what we did there? Brought the biology back full circle—that's Shmoop. One thing that will become clear as we inve...

Enthalpy

Looking at Cells Under the Energy MicroscopeWhen we discussed heat and entropy, it became crystal clear that thermodynamics is critically important to cells and cell function. Now, let's take a clo...

Free Energy

We only talk about free energy when it changes (ΔG). Much like how you only talk about your friends when they aren't listening. Basically, ΔG describes the change in useful energy that can be ext...

Enzymes in Detail

Enzymes are basically like the fast-forward button on your DVR remote. While they are buzzing about 24/7 and involving themselves in chemical reactions, they always have these two properties:They d...

Common Mistakes

Energy, Cells, and the Creation of OrderSometimes, it is easy to think that energy gets completely used; however, in truth, while one form of energy may disappear, the amount of energy in the unive...

Test Your Knowledge

Energy, Cells, and the Creation of OrderWhat is the opposite of anabolism? Is there more or less entropy in the universe today than there was 100 years ago? What type of energy does a car...

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