By Robert H. Carlson
Expertise is a approach and a physique of information up to a suite of artifacts. Biology isn't any different—and we're simply starting to understand the demanding situations inherent within the subsequent degree of biology as a human know-how. it truly is this serious second, with its wide-ranging implications, that Robert Carlson considers in Biology Is expertise. He bargains a uniquely expert viewpoint at the endeavors that give a contribution to present growth during this area—the technology of organic platforms and the know-how used to govern them. In a few case experiences, Carlson demonstrates that the advance of latest mathematical, computational, and laboratory instruments will facilitate the engineering of organic artifacts—up to and together with organisms and ecosystems. Exploring how it will take place, with regards to earlier technological advances, he explains how items are built almost, proven utilizing subtle mathematical types, and at last developed within the genuine international. Such quick raises within the strength, availability, and alertness of biotechnology elevate seen questions about who will get to take advantage of it, and to what finish. Carlson’s considerate research deals infrequent perception into our offerings approximately how one can increase organic applied sciences and the way those offerings will ensure the speed and effectiveness of innovation as a public reliable. (20100301)
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Extra resources for Biology Is Technology: The Promise, Peril, and New Business of Engineering Life
8 I suggest that these remarks are still appropriate today. Leduc, and the approach he espoused, failed because real biological parts are more complex, and obey different rules, than his simple chemical systems, however beautiful they were. Eighty years later, the world looks very different. Mathematical approaches are ﬂourishing in biology, particularly in the interpretation of large data sets produced by studies of all the many genes and proteins found in an organism. But I think it is important to acknowledge that not all biologists agree a synthetic approach will yield truths applicable to complex systems that have evolved over billions of years.
Each part, whether wing strut, ﬂap, or turbine blade, is described by its own quantitative model— its device physics—that predicts its behavior under the conditions expected during ﬂight. The notion of device physics is the cartoon at the heart of composability (introduced in Chapter 2). It is a highly functional abstraction that allows design using relevant features of a component as a whole rather than, for example, focusing on what all the atoms in a turbopump are doing during takeoff. All of the structural shapes in a 747 are the product of long experience optimizing weight and performance, and the materials chosen for each part are thoroughly tested for strength and longevity.
Without very careful measurements of molecular properties, it is difﬁcult to take the general behavioral description provided by theory and produce quantitative predictions; without knowing the dissociation constant, it is nigh impossible to predict the concentration of XY. Only when adequate measurement can be made of, say, how strongly one protein binds to another, or the rate at which an enzyme processes its substrate, can numbers be added to natural language predictions. The absence of this kind of data is a considerable impediment to a deep understanding of biological systems.