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Publisher SummaryThis chapter discusses the importance of thermodynamics and its use as a “logic tool.” One of many quintessential examples of such a use of thermodynamics is Wyman's theory of linked functions. Thermodynamics is commonly either poorly taught or not at all in graduate or undergraduate departments of chemistry or biochemistry. Such courses have caused a large fraction of biochemical researchers and have the impression that thermodynamic approaches are archaic and ancillary to the central issues of biochemistry. Sadly, thermodynamics has seldom been fused with developments in molecular biology, structural analysis, or computational chemistry. Another reason for this narrow and insular perception is that thermodynamics is frequently equated with a single experimental technique—calorimetry. However, all of these perceptions are far from accurate. The chapter explores the ways in which thermodynamics can be an important tool for the study of biological systems.

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