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2021 Edward W. Morley Award and Address, May 19

May 19, 2021 | 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm


May 19, 2021
  • Exec committee meeting 5:30
  • Presentation 7:00 pm

David N Beratan

David N. Beratan, R.J. Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Duke University is the 2021 Morley Medal winner.

Biology Meets Quantum Mechanics: The Molecular Foundations of Bioenergetics

The dual (wave-particle) nature of matter is not usually required to describe the function of living systems. Yet, energy capture and conversion in biology rely on the delivery of electrons with sub-nanometer precision. As such, quantum phenomena take center stage. I will discuss studies that have helped to establish an understanding of how the flow of electrons is directed and regulated in living systems with fine spatial precision and, in some cases, very high energy efficiency. Physical principles emerging from these investigations allow us to understand some of the broader principles that underpin the function of nanoscale machines derived from soft-wet matter. The electron transport reactions on which I will focus are ubiquitous in living systems, powering life from archaea to bacteria to plants to us. The principles being learned, intriguing in their own right, are also motivating the design of synthetic bioinspired machinery that may begin to mimic the extraordinary function of living systems.


Registrants will be sent a link to the meeting