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B Has anyone ever studied the physics of DNA

  1. Mar 11, 2017 #1
    I mean from a physical and not chemical or biological standpoint, DNA takes the elements of the Earth and turns them into us, at some point this becomes far more basic than biology and DNA is organizing elements by code into life forms. Has anyone ever approached what is happening from that perspective?
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  3. Mar 11, 2017 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    The double helix structure of DNA was determined by a physics test - x-ray diffraction, and several of the discoverers of this (not all of whom shared in the Nobel prize) were physicists.
  4. Mar 11, 2017 #3
    That is not what I am asking, I am interested in how elements of the Earth become animals. See if you break down DNA it's just elements, that somehow become self aware
  5. Mar 11, 2017 #4
    I don't think the growth of self-awarness is a physics problem: it seems to belong somewhere between biology and philosophy; as far as I know, self-awareness is still rather a mystery. In other respects, how chemical elements turn into animals (and plants) is a matter of chemistry and biology, and I think pretty well understood.

    It's not really clear what you are asking.
  6. Mar 11, 2017 #5
    I am asking 2 things.

    1. If you believe in Darwinism, how did the elements of the Earth turn themselves into you?
    2. If you are a theist, how did God turn the elements of the Earth into you?

    Either way we are elemental before we are biological, and since physics is literally the study of everything, at some level we can be broken down into the physical realm. Another way whatever DNA is, it turns inanimate physical elements, C, H,O,S, N, Ca, P, Na, Mg into a moving thinking thing. How would one begin to combine a human being or even simple bacteria, beginning with raw elements?
  7. Mar 11, 2017 #6
    As I said, this seems pretty well understood (with a few gaps) in terms of chemistry and biology.

    Not in a chronological sense. "We" are nothing if not biological.

    Physics doesn't attempt to explain things that are better understood in other ways. At some point a very detailed analysis becomes too complicated to be meaningful. Much of chemistry can be understood in terms of physical processes and principles (quantum mechanics), and much of biology can be understood in terms of chemical processes. But to try to explain everything in terms of the basic physics would be pointless. It would be like trying to forecast the weather using the quantum theory of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water--even if it could be done, the results would be so complex they would be incomprehensible.

    As pointed out above, we know very well what DNA is.

    Actually that's not inconceivable. DNA can be synthesised to order; so can many (or most?) of the chemicals that make up an organism. If you mean how would one do it without a chemical laboratory--if I had a few hundred million years to spare, I'd just put everything together and wait.
  8. Mar 11, 2017 #7
    Nothing real or rational is too complicated to be meaningful, however things can be too complicated for the human mind to understand. 1000 years ago the orbits of planets were too complicated to be meaningful, to a layperson underlying computer code is far too complicated to be meaningful, but still it has meaning and can be deciphered, chiefly because we wrote it. My point is that we are composed of elements that interact with each other to form patterns that form other patterns that form more patterns that end up as us. I am looking far beyond genes, as they are merely combinations of elements that at some point combine like all molecules.
  9. Mar 11, 2017 #8
    I'm not sure what you're looking for, or what you mean by "patterns"--structures? cycles? Are you looking for some social/biological theory of everything?

    Incidentally, since you focus on DNA: one of the things we know about it is that it is not in complete control--its behaviour and even its form can be influenced by its environment.
  10. Mar 11, 2017 #9
    DNA is a long chain of fairly ordinary molecules.
    In a way not very different to plastic, but the ordering of the chain is information.
    Information that makes copies of itself.
    I think I am just about within accepted theories on that
  11. Mar 11, 2017 #10


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    We don't discuss religious or philosophical issues on PF.
    And the least we debunk hypothesis that contradict well established knowledge and science.

    The subject is highly speculative and for very similar reasons you could as well ask why salt forms crystals.

    Thread closed.
  12. Mar 11, 2017 #11


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