The way things move has fascinated physicists from Newton to Einstein. But until now few physicists appreciated how widely the laws of movement apply. From understanding how cell membranes let in proteins to how elementary particles behave at the speed of light, scientists are realising the common features – and essential differences – in the movement of matter of all shapes and sizes.
At the recent CCP2007 conference supported by the European Science Foundation (ESF), researchers describe how molecules, particles and subatomic particles move and interact with each other. Using their expertise at macroscopic scales they have developed models that explain the movement of matter at the microscopic level. “Well known equations that explain the flow of water or the movement of air over an airplane’s wing can also be used to explain the way molecules move in our bodies or how protons collide at great speeds”, says Professor Raymond Kapral, a chemical physicist at the University of Toronto in Canada.
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