Jordan Horowitz

Friday, January 12, 2018
Location: Goldsmith 317
Jordan Horowitz, MIT
Energetic constraints on typical fluctuations by bounding large deviations

Abstract: Thermodynamics is a remarkably successful theoretical framework, with wide ranging applications across the natural sciences.  Unfortunately, thermodynamics is limited to equilibrium or near-equilibrium situations, whereas most of the natural world, especially life, operates very far from thermodynamic equilibrium.  Without a robust nonequilibrium thermodynamics, we cannot address a whole host of pressing research questions regarding the energetic requirements to operate outside of equilibrium, like the energetic cost to form a pattern, replicate an organism, or sense an environment, to name a few.  Cutting-edge research in nonequilibrium statistical thermodynamics is beginning to shed light on these questions.  In this talk, I will present one such prediction: a trade-off relation that quantifies how energy dissipation shapes current fluctuations in far-from-equilibrium mesoscopic systems modeled as Markov Jump Processes.  This trade-off is obtained by bounding the Large Deviation Function for currents -- a method that now has proven to lead to numerous extensions and insights into the structure of nonequilibrium fluctuations.    Besides its intrinsic allure as a universal relation, I will discuss how this bound can be used to probe the energetic efficiency of molecular motors, offer energetic constraints on chemical clocks, and bound the dissipation in complex materials, allowing us to gain insight into the fundamental energetic requirements to operate out of thermodynamic equilibrium.