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      The Physics of Life. Part I: The Animate Organism as an Active Condensed Matter Body

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            Abstract

            Nonequilibrium “active agents” establish bonds with each other and create a quickly evolving condensed state known as active matter. Recently, active matter composed of motile self-organizing biopolymers demonstrated a biotic-like motion similar to cytoplasmic streaming. It was suggested that the active matter could produce cells. However, active matter physics cannot yet define an “organism” and thus make a satisfactory connection to biology. This paper describes an organism made of active agents and explains how the active condensed matter could produce animate beings. It argues that life is a specific condensed matter phenomenon and describes this phenomenon. From this perspective, it formulates a hypothesis regarding the origin of biological life. The discussion starts from the model active agents and the conceptual description of an animate form. Then it explains how chemical transformations actuate protein-based macromolecules. It speculates on how these macromolecules produce the basic cell. Then it discusses the role of water in biological cells. Taking a physicist’s perspective, this paper describes ordered reconstructions of the active condensed matter, driven by the ongoing condensation of this matter.

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            ScienceOpen Preprints
            ScienceOpen
            8 July 2022
            Affiliations
            [1 ] Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research
            Author notes
            Article
            10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-.PPRZ6GY.v1
            31849e7f-be03-457e-8e8c-c6901a3af60a

            This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .


            Condensed matter,Biophysics
            active matter, basic cell, molecular machines, prebiotic evolution, abiogenesis, morphogenesis

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