Module 7 Conceptual Integration

  • Biochemisry!

    Physics is also called "the fundamental science" because all branches of natural science like chemistry and biology are constrained by laws of physics. Is it correct, then, to say that fluid mechanics is the foundation of the cardiovascular system? That would be an incorrect thing to say, because the cardiovascular system does not reduce to physics. You cannot derive the principles governing cardiovascular phenomena from physics.

    The rise through each level of science is characterized by the appearance of emergent phenomena. Emergence occurs when an entity is observed to have properties its parts do not have on their own, properties or behaviors which emerge only when the parts interact in a wider whole.

    In the same sense, biochemistry does not reduce to general and organic chemistry, let alone physics. It is much better to say that biochemistry supervenes on physics, general and organic chemistry. Biochemistry is constrained by the principles of physics and chemistry. If the laws of general chemistry were different, biochemistry would be different.

    Still, we have built up our understanding from physics in this course. We began the course with mechanics and electrostatics. We described the structure of matter and the thermodynamic principles governing chemical change. We described a variety of avenues of chemical behavior from the solution process to acid-base activity and the organic chemistry reaction mechanics. We have also devoted a great deal of attention to oxidation-reduction in the context of other topics. Although biochemistry does not reduce to these more fundamental subjects, they are the essential foundation for the understanding. We will be continuously returning to these earlier ideas as we make our way through biochemistry.

Suggested Assignments

Read the Interdisciplinary Notes for Module 7.

Play Catch Blue.

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