Outcome: Energy and Thermodynamics

Importance of Energy

The universe is made of two things matter and energy. Unlike matter, energy does not take up space or have mass.  Energy is the ability to do work and is measured by the movement of matter.  In this chapter, we will cover important concepts of energy. Then we will cover how cells generate and use energy.

Demonstrate familiarity with the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

Thermodynamics refers to the study of energy and energy transfer involving physical matter.

There are four laws of thermodynamics; however, for this course only the first two are relevant:

  1. Energy may be transferred from place to place or transformed into different forms, but it cannot be created or destroyed.
  2. In any given system, the entropy (the amount of energy) will either increase or stay the same.

In this outcome, we will learn exactly how these laws are important to understanding biology.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Distinguish between an open and a closed system.
  • Understand how the first law of thermodynamics applies to biological systems
  • Understand how the second law of thermodynamics applies to biological systems.

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Reading: Open and Closed Systems
  • Reading: The First Law of Thermodynamics
  • Reading: The Second Law of Thermodynamics
  • Self Check: Thermodynamics