Free energy of formation of an animal
|A semi-cartoonish, semi-realistic rendition of relationship between Gibbs free energy, G, and the “creation” of a rabbit (compare: creation by breath), from American physicist Daniel Schroeder’s 2000 Thermal Physics textbook.|
The following 1993 quote by American physical chemist Martin Goldstein
, from his chapter section on the “Entropy of a Mouse”, gives idea of what is means for a biochemical species or for that matter a so-called biological entity, such as a mouse (or a human) to have a free energy value in a given state
“To apply thermodynamics to the problem of how life got started, we must ask what net energy and entropy changes would have been if simple chemical substances, present when the earth was young, were converted into living matter [as in the formation of a mouse] … to answer this question [for each process], we must determine the energies and entropies of everything in the initial state and final state.”
In other words, the above table, showing the Gibbs free energies of formation
for different biochemical species, such as Fructose (218 kgcal), molecular formula
, gives way to the idea that this logic can be extrapolated upward to calculate the standard Gibbs free energy of formation for different types of proto-life entities, chemicals, or molecules, such as a mouse.