Structural Biochemistry/Relations of Structural Biochemistry with other Sciences

Introduction

The spectrum of biochemistry studies span numerous fields of science. Biochemistry finds roots in the fields of physics, chemistry and biology; though its connotations rest primarily in the fields of chemistry and biology, as the term biochemistry implies.

Physics

Biochemistry ties to physics as a result of biomolecules abiding by the same physical laws as all other molecules, thus being affected by the laws of thermodynamics and the principles of bio-energetics. Biomolecules undergo reactions which, like reactions of other molecules, either release energy[ as they occur spontaneously, or require energy to proceed. Spontaneous reactions generally increase entropy, the disorder of a system, though spontaneity is determined by the Gibbs' free energy equation: ${\displaystyle \Delta G=\Delta H-T\Delta S}$

Chemistry

The principles of chemistry is crucial to the field of biochemistry. Bonding and interactions between atoms and molecules are vital to the existence of biomolecules and life in general.

Hydrogen bonding is one aspect of the topic of bonding and interactions in the field of chemistry, but has proven incredibly important to biochemistry, as bonds between carbon and oxygen are critical to life. With hydrocarbons being fundamental organic molecules, as well as nitrogen being a major element in amino acids, and thus proteins, hydrogen bonds are key to stability of biomolecules composed highly of oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen.

Other interactions that are key to biochemistry are covalent bonds (which are general bonds between atoms), Van der Waals interactions (which are interactions between molecules as they get very near one another), and ionic interactions (bonding interactions between positively and negatively charged atoms or molecules).

Biology

Without biology, there would be no purpose for the study biochemistry, since biology is the study of living organisms and biochemistry is the study of the functions of biomolecules and their structures. Biochemistry involves studying the cells, and the functions of its components, since it focuses on biomolecules. Similarly, biochemists must consider genetics, since proteins are a crucial aspect of the processes of life and proteins are composed of amino acids and are major biomolecules to study.

Biochemistry has legitimate reason to focus on the process of evolution, since evolution has been the continuing process of the development of life and biomolecules as a group. Evolution on earth began with single-celled organisms capable of self-replication. There are many theories regarding how the formation of early life occurred, and many scientific experiments and theories are in play at any given time. Recently an old experiment of Stanley Miller's[1] was discovered and reanalyzed, with a simulated early Earth scenario, with lightning striking in volcanic eruption situations, yielding numerous amino acids being formed in small groups. As such, it is possible that the formation of amino acids was one of the earliest steps in the evolution of biomolecules.

Notes

1. Stanley Miller was a renowned biochemist working with Harold Urey on an experiment simulating hypothetical early atmospheric conditions to test whether life could begin spontaneously from such conditions.