Colloquium on July 5, 2010

Luca Peliti
Università di Napoli "Federico II"

Fluctuation relations in physical biology

Most of the workings of the living cells take part at the nanoscale or immediately above. In this regime, the machinery is immersed in thermal fluctuations: other sources of fluctuations come from the small number of complex molecules involved in the host of reactions that constitute life. The traditional rate equation approach is unable to grasp the properties of these systems, while approaches built on the description of the whole fluctuation distribution, often on the basis of a large-deviation principle, can help us proceed further. I shall review the basis of these approaches, and describe a number of exemplary applications.