GARDEN OF PHYSICS: Episode 18 – Entropy of life

Entropy of life
Guest: dr Nenad Vukmirović

We cannot have an isolated living system. If the system is isolated the entropy will increase leading the system toward a greater disorder’, says Dr Nenad Vukmirović of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade in the eighteenth volume of the popular science video series ‘The Garden of Physics’.

The episode is dedicated to the understanding of one of the established physical quantities – entropy, which is very rarely applied in everyday life, thus gaining a certain enigmatic status. Being insufficiently precisely described as a measure of a system disorder in textbooks, entropy frequently inspires artists and stimulates various speculative thoughts about the world.

Through explanation of a universal law better known as the second law of thermodynamics, in which entropy cannot decrease in an isolated system, Dr Vukmirović talks about how it describes the behaviour of a simple thermodynamic system such as gas enclosed in a container, but also its miscellaneous consequences and interpretations such as ‘the arrow of time’.

Transcending an interesting physics class framework, this episode examines what is thermodynamics of life like, as well why the living systems, since they maintain order, seemingly oppose the second law of thermodynamics.

‘A live cell is not an isolated system, it interacts with its surroundings and exchanges entropy with it’, clarifies Dr Vukmirović.

Realized in cooperation with the portal ’Science Through Stories’, each episode of ’The Garden of Physics’ is dedicated to one of the fundamental topics of modern science, whether it is the greatest secrets of our times or research indicating unexpected horizons in the perception of the world. New episodes are aired every Friday online and they are available on webpages of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade and the portal „Science Through Stories“, as well as on You are welcome to join us.

Authors: Marija Đurić and Slobodan Bubnjević
Scenario: ’Science Through Stories’
Camera/drone: Zoran Veljanoski, Bojan Živojinović (Twotech Solutions)
Production associate: Jovana Nikolić
Directing and editing: Bojan Živojinović

Produced by: Insitute of Physics, Belgrade, 2020