This book introduces an approach to protein folding from the point of view of kinetic theory. There is an abundance of data on protein folding, but few proposals are available on the mechanism driving the process. Here, presented for the first time, are suggestions on possible research directions, as developed by the author in collaboration with C C Lin.The first half of this invaluable book contains a concise but relatively complete review of relevant topics in statistical mechanics and kinetic theory. It includes standard topics such as thermodynamics, the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, and ensemble theory. Special discussions include the dynamics of phase transitions, and Brownian motion as an illustration of stochastic processes.The second half develops topics in molecular biology and protein structure, with a view to discovering mechanisms underlying protein folding. Attention is focused on the energy flow through the protein in its folded state. A mathematical model, based on the Brownian motion of coupled harmonic oscillators, is worked out in the appendix.
Kerson Huang, born in 1928 in Nanning, China, is Professor Emeritus of Physics at MIT. He received his SB degree in physics in 1950, and PhD in physics in 1953, both at MIT. After a stint at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, he joined the physics faculty at MIT in 1957, and retired from teaching in 1999, but still engages in research. He has worked on the theory of interacting bosonic particles, particularly phase diagrams, and superfluid pinning in a random potential. He also worked in quantum field theory, and found asymptotically free scalar fields in 4D, which were generally thought to be impossible. Currently his interest centers on protein structure, especially the dynamics of protein folding. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Entropy; Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution; Free Energy; Chemical Potential; Phase Transitions; Kinetics of Phase Transitions; Order Parameter; Correlation Function; Stochastic Processes; Langevin Equation; The Life Process; Self-Assembly; Kinetics of Protein Folding; Power Laws in Protein Folding; Self-Avoiding Walk and Turbulence; Convergent Evolution in Protein Folding.