Annu Rev Condens Matter Phys 2015 Mar;6:85-111
Department of Applied Physics and Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125; Laboratoire de Physico-Chimie Théorique, CNRS/UMR 7083-ESPCI, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France.
It has been said that the cell is the test tube of the twenty-first century. If so, the theoretical tools needed to quantitatively and predictively describe what goes on in such test tubes lag sorely behind the stunning experimental advances in biology seen in the decades since the molecular biology revolution began. Perhaps surprisingly, one of the theoretical tools that has been used with great success on problems ranging from how cells communicate with their environment and each other to the nature of the organization of proteins and lipids within the cell membrane is statistical mechanics. Read More