Biological Energy

Brother Gregory speaks to his class,

The subject for today is The Study of Energy. You must follow the lesson, answer the questions, then complete the research investigation, if required.

Let us begin .......

You cannot get "something for nothing". In any process, the amount of work you put into the action is exactly the same as the amount of work you get out of the system.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz (1646 - 1716) realized that living organisms carried around with them a "living force", but it was Thomas Young, who, in 1807 realized that "work-store" or energy was a universal property of living and non-living systems.

As you proceed through this lesson, test yourself as you go by answering some of these "true/false" questions.

There are two main types of energy, and the first law of thermodynamics shows the relationship between them.

Measuring Energy - setting a standard.

Before it's properties can be studied, however, energy much be measured, and to do that a "measuring stick" for energy transactions is important.

Heat is energy on the move, and temperature is a scale or degree of "hotness".

A thermometer is an instrument that measures the temperature of bodies and substances, and is used to track the movement of heat.

Carnot studied the way heat moved and how heat always seemed, like water, to move in one direction; from hot bodies to cold bodies.

This lead to the discovery of the second law of thermodynamics and the science of thermodynamics came into existence.

Biological Energy - energy transactions in living organisms.

Living organisms, like the sugar cane plant, are systems that have to obey both laws of thermodynamics.

Energy is stored in electrons, and the position of electrons relative to the atomic center.

When two rapidly moving molecules bump into each other with sufficient force to break them apart and create new molecules, an energy transaction is involved.

Some chemical reactions liberate energy as they take place and others absorb energy from the environment or other systems.

When two simpler molecules are joined together, this is a non-spontaneous process.

Activation Energy - overcoming the barrier.

But bumping molecules do not always react. They need sufficient force to make them fly apart an rearrange themselves.

Catalysts are one way of overcoming the barrier that is preventing reactions.

Enzymes are biological catalysts that have a range of other properties as well.

One of the great secrets of life is the ability to link together an energy providing reaction with one that is energy requiring; this is the secret of life.

A small molecule, ATP, carries energy from the food breakdown machinery to where it is needed.

Metabolism is the ultimate set of linked chemical reactions.

Research investigation
check your schedule to see if this is required
Brother Gregory's Dinner
Research Investigation
Concept questions
for the lesson

check your schedule to see if this is required
Biological Energy Set
Concept Questions and personal question page
Required Readings
for the lesson
Lecture Notes - A Check Up
Part One -|- Part Two -|- Part Three
Table of Contents -|- Saccharum officianrum

Energy in electrons -|- Linking reactions -|- ATP

Podcasts -
- on Biological Energy

Topic Menu -|- Energy -|- Energy Forms -|- Temperature

Heat -|- Thermometers -|- Measuring -|- Entropy

Second Law of Thermodynamics

Life and Energy
Topic Menu -|- Energy & Reactions -|- In & Out

Synthesis -|- Activation Energy -|- Catalysis

Enzymes -|- Metabolism

Suggested supplementary
reading for this lesson.
Meet Brother Gregory
Read - Chapter the Fourth

Science@a Distance
© 2001, Professor John Blamire