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Chérif F. Matta, PhD, HDR, FRSA, FRSB, FInstP, FRSC is Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) and an Honorary Professor at Dalhousie, Laval, and Saint Mary’s Universities (all in Canada) and at Zewail City of Science and Technology (Egypt). He obtained a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science from Alexandria University (Egypt), a PhD in theoretical and quantum chemistry from McMaster University (Canada), and a Habilitation to Direct Research (HDR) from the Université de Lorraine (France). Postdoctoral training opportunities then opened for him at the University of Toronto in chemical physics localized atomic reactions on surfaces (with Nobel Laureate John C. Polanyi), then at Dalhousie University in computational biochemistry. Professor Matta has approximately 150 publications including two books and has given 200 seminars and conference presentations in 30 countries around the world. His research interests include theoretical/quantum and computational (bio) chemistry and theoretical biophysics. More specifically, besides quantum chemistry and the Quantum Theory of Atoms in Molecules (QTAIM), his research interests include theoretical investigation of mitochondrial biophysics, the effects of strong external electric fields on molecules and biochemical reactions, the study of the intrinsic electric fields of biomolecules, and the development and use of the electron Localization-Delocalization Matrices (LDMs) in drug and materials design. For his work, Chérif F. Matta received the Award for Research Excellence from his university (MSVU), the NSERC-Acfas Science Exposed Prize, the Lady Davis Fellowship, the Molecular Graphics and Molecular Simulation Society (MGMS) Silver Jubilee Prize, the John Charles Polanyi Prize in Chemistry, and the Izaak Walton Killam Fellowship. He has is an (elected) Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), Fellow of the Institute of Physics (FInstP), Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB), and Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA). Professor Matta is a Member of the Commission on Quantum Crystallography of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), a Member of the Interdisciplinary Adjudication Committee of the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP), a member of a number of grant selection panels in several countries including committees of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), and is a Member of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) Accreditation Committee. Matta speaks, lectures, and publishes in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish languages. For additional information, visit his website:
On the Hierarchical Levels of Biological Information Theory
ABSTRACT Is life completely reducible, in principle, to the laws of physics and chemistry? The answer can be “Yes” and can be “no”. “No” if we take the position of Michael Polanyi that any object that processes and conveys information cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts, just like a clock is not just a collection of gears and screws, and that those aspects of information processing are beyond the realm of physical science but rather in the realm of information theory. Alternatively, a “Yes” can be the answer if information theory is incorporated within the domain of the physical science. After all, any information must be transcribed and/or transmitted through a physical medium. One link between physics and information is through the energy equivalent of information, that is, that the bit costs kTln2 units of energy to collect or to erase. This talk will touch upon this issue in the context of recent applications of information theory in biophysics. The discussion may also touch upon the distinction of the quantity versus the value of information in a biological context picking the thread where M. Volkenstein has left it. REFERENCES 1. C. F. Matta, L. Massa; Notes on the energy equivalence of information. J. Phys. Chem. A 2017, 121, 9131-9135. 2. C. F. Matta, L. Massa; Information theory and the thermodynamic efficiency of biological sorting systems: Case studies of the kidney and of mitochondrial ATP-synthase. Chapter 1 in: Sustained Energy for Enhanced Human Functions and Activity, Bagchi, D. (Ed.), Academic Press - An imprint of Elsevier (London) 2017, 3-29. 3. C. F. Matta, L. Massa; Energy equivalence of information in the mitochondrion and the thermodynamic efficiency of ATP synthase. Biochemistry 2015, 54, 5376-5378. 4. M. V. Volkenstein; Entropy and Information; Birkhäser Verlag AG: Basel, 2009. 5. M. V. Volkenstein; Physical Approaches to Biological Evolution; Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 1994. 6. M. V. Volkenstein; General Biophysics (Volumes 1 and 2); Academic Press, Inc.: New York, 1983. 7. M. V. Volkenstein; Molecular Biophysics; Academic Press, Inc.: New York, 1977. 8. L. L. Gatlin; Information Theory and the Living System; Columbia University Press: New York, 1972.