Sep 1, 2023

Hypothesized Physics ‘Demon’ May Have Been Found Lurking Inside Our Cells

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Back in 1,867, in an effort to test his thoughts on the emerging science of thermodynamics, physicist James Clerk Maxwell imagined an intelligent ‘demon’ sorting molecules between two containers based on their energy.

In 2023, a less diabolical version of Maxwell’s fictitious demon may have been found.

According to a new study from researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, proteins embedded in cell membranes called ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) transporters have features that echo Maxwell’s demon, allowing them to sort substrates.

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