Keywords: biology inspired physics, biomaterials, evolution genetics, learning from nature, biomimetics, solar energy conversion, solar power, nanotribology, nanotechnology, smart materials, organic molecules, self–assembly, robot design, desert life, deserts
Biomimetic physics: learning from nature's strategies of overcoming evolutionary crises
The sheer infinite manifold of living beings has been designed with an astonishing small number of organic molecules. This was achieved by interplay of physics, chemistry, genetics and the concept of hierarchical design. Many concepts of human rational design of smart materials were invented by nature several billion years ago. Nature can teach us how to design highly sophisticated mechanical structures and systems comprising length scales from nanometres to metres by hierarchical design from functional modules (such as lipid membranes, ion pumps and molecular motors). As a first example, I consider the selection of smart organic molecules that self–assembled into energy–producing machines during primordial evolution. I secondly show that we can learn much on the design of smart materials and robots by studying the behaviour of animals surviving under the harsh conditions of desert life.