2 Kings 2:23,24

Martin Bier

East Carolina University
Dept. of Physics

tel. (252) 328 6428
Email:  bierm@ecu.edu 
see also http://www.ecu.edu/physics/bier.html


All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee:
All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood
-Alexander Pope-


Fear not! My research does not concern the eschatology that compelled Pope to write the above lines. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that random and uncoordinated Brownian motion, i.e. "chance" and "discord," is an essential ingredient in many biological processes. Noise is something we frantically try to suppress in everyday devices. But on the level of biomolecules, conversions commonly need the right amount of noise to proceed optimally.

On the other hand, some "chance" and "discord" is not as random as it may seem. Under all the apparent stochasticity of the stock market there are patterns. Random infections can lead to epidemic outbreaks with striking periodicity.

The articles below constitute a modest attempt to make sense of noise-induced order, order gone awry, and self-organization in spite of the Second Law. Motor proteins, power lines, phase transitions, epidemics, entropy production, and volumes of traded stock - they are all there!

Peer-Reviewed Publications of the Last Decade:

If a paper is not "clickable," please email me and I will email it to you.

L. Kusmierz, A. Chechkin, E. Gudowska-Nowak, and M. Bier, Breaking Microscopic Reversibility with Levy Flights Europhysics Letters, accepted for publication, (2016).

M. Bier, B. Lisowski, and E. Gudowska-Nowak, Phase transitions and entropies for synchronizing oscillators Physical Review E 93, 012143, (2016).

F.R. Brown, D. Pravica, and M. Bier, Self-similarity and non-Markovian Behavior in Traded Stock Volumes European Physical Journal B 88, 300-308, (2015).

B. Lisowski, D. Valenti, B. Spagnolo, M. Bier, and E. Gudowska-Nowak, Stepping Molecular Motor amid Levy White Noise Physical Review E 91, 042713, (2015).

B. Lisowski, L. Kusmierz, M. Zabicki, and M. Bier, Cargo-mooring as an Operating Principle for Molecular Motors Journal of Theoretical Biological 374, 26-34, (2015).

M. Bier and B. Brak, A Simple Model to Quantitatively Account for Periodic Outbreaks of the Measles in the Dutch Bible Belt European Physical Journal B 88(4), 107, (2015).

M. Bier and F.J. Cao, Szilard-Machine-Like Features in a Processive Motor Protein Acta Physica Polonica B 43(5), 889-908, (2012).

M. Bier and J. Gallaher, Ion Traffic Through a Cell Membrane - and How Its 1/f Noise Connects to Gambler's Ruin, Catalan Numbers and Zipf's Law Fluctuation and Noise Letters 10(4), 419-430, (2012).

M. Bier and F.J. Cao, How Occasional Backstepping Can Speed up a Processive Motor Protein BioSystems 103, 356-359, (2011).

M. Bier, Quantum Consciousness and Other Spooky Myths Skeptic Magazine 16(1), 40-43, (2010).

J. Gallaher, M. Bier, and J. Siegenbeek van Heukelom, First Order Phase Transition and Hysteresis in a Cell's Maintenance of the Membrane Potential - An Essential Role for the Inward Potassium Rectifiers BioSystems 101, 149-155, (2010).

J. Gallaher, K. Wodzinska, T. Heimburg, and M. Bier, Ion-channel-like Behavior in Lipid Bilayer Membranes at the Melting Transition Physical Review E 81, 061925_1 - 061925_5, (2010).

B.T. Kassahun, A.K. Murashov, and M. Bier, A Thermodynamic Mechanism behind an Action Potential and behind Anesthesia Biophysical Reviews and Letters 5(1), 35-41, (2010).

J. Gallaher, M. Bier, and J. Siegenbeek van Heukelom, The Role of Chloride Transport in the Control of the Membrane Potential in Skeletal Muscle - Theory and Experiment Biophysical Chemistry 143, 18-25, (2009).

M. Bier, The Energetics, Chemistry, and Mechanics of a Processive Motor Protein BioSystems 93, 23-28, (2008).

M. Bier, Accounting for the Energies and Entropies of Kinesin's Catalytic Cycle European Physical Journal B 65, 415-418, (2008).

M. Bier, The Stepping Motor Protein as a Feedback Control Ratchet BioSystems 88, 301-307, (2007).

M. Bier, O.W. Day, and D.W. Pravica, Murmurs and Noise Caused by Arterial Narrowing - Theory and Clinical Practice Fluctuation and Noise Letters 6 (4), 415-425, (2006).

M. Bier, How to Evaluate the Electric Noise in a Cell Membrane Acta Physica Polonica B 37 (5), 1409-1424, (2006).

D.W. Pravica, M. Bier, R.S. Brock, and O.W. Day, Stable Stationary Vortices and Traveling Oscillatory Vortices in a Stenotic Fluid-flow Channel Physical Review E 72, 067303, (2005).

M. Bier, Gauging the Strength of Power Frequency Fields against Membrane Electric Noise Bioelectromagnetics 26, 595-609, (2005).

M. Bier, W. Chen, E. Bodnar, and R.C. Lee, Biophysical Injury Mechanisms Associated with Lightning Injury Neurorehabilitation 20(1), 53-62, (2005).

M. Bier, Critical Exponents near a Bifurcation Point in Noise Induced Escape over a Fluctuating Barrier Physical Review E 71(1), 011108, (2005).

M. Bier, Modeling Processive Motor Proteins - Moving on Two Legs in the Microscopic Realm Contemporary Physics 46 (no 1), 41-51, (2005).

M. Bier, T.R. Gowrishankar, W. Chen, and R.C. Lee, The Electroporation of a Lipid Bilayer as a Chemical Reaction Bioelectromagnetics 25 (no 8), 634-637, (2004).

H. van Mil, J. Siegenbeek van Heukelom, and M. Bier, A Bistable Membrane Potential at Low Extracellular Potassium Concentration Biophysical Chemistry 106, 15-21, (2003).

M. Bier, Processive Motor Protein as an Overdamped Brownian Stepper Physical Review Letters 91 (14), 148104, (2003).

M. Bier, T.R. Gowrishankar, W. Chen, R.D. Astumian, and R.C. Lee, Resealing Dynamics of a Cell Membrane after Electroporation Physical Review E 66, 062905, (2002).

M. Bier, Motor Proteins - Mechanochemical Energy Transduction on the Microscopic Scale Acta Physica Polonica B 32 (2), 287-294, (2001).

M. Bier, M. Kostur, I. Derenyi, and R.D. Astumian, Nonlinearly Coupled Flows Physical Review E 61 (6), 7184 - 7187, (2000).

M. Bier, B.M. Bakker and H.V. Westerhoff, How Yeast Cells Synchronize their Glycolytic Oscillations - A Perturbation Analytic Treatment Biophysical Journal 78, 1166-1175, (2000).

I. Derenyi, M. Bier and R.D. Astumian, The Generalized Efficiency and its Application to Microscopic Engines Physical Review Letters 83 (5), 903 - 906, (1999).

M. Bier, I. Derenyi, M. Kostur and R.D. Astumian, The Intrawell Relaxation of Overdamped Brownian Particles Physical Review E 59 (6), 6422 - 6432, (1999).

M. Bier, S. M. Hammer, D.J. Canaday, and R.C. Lee, Kinetics of Sealing for Transient Electropores in Isolated Skeletal Muscle Bioelectromagnetics 20 (no.3), 194 - 201, (1999).

M. Bier and R.D. Astumian, What is Adiabaticity? - Suggestions from a Fluctuating Linear Potential Physics Letters A 247 (no.6), 385 - 390, (1998).

M. Bier, Brownian Ratchets in Physics and Biology Contemporary Physics 38 (no.6), 371- 379, (1997).

M. Bier, B. Teusink, B.N. Kholodenko and H.V. Westerhoff, Control Analysis of Glycolytic Oscillations Biophysical Chemistry 62, 15-24, (1996).

G.S. Abramov, M. Bier, M. Capelli-Schellpfeffer, and R.C. Lee, Alteration in Sensory Nerve Function Following Electrical Shock Burns, 22 (no. 8), 602-606, (1996).

M. Bier and R. D. Astumian, Biasing Brownian Motion in Different Directions in a 3 State Fluctuating Potential and an Application for the Separation of Small Particles Physical Review Letters 76, 4277-4280, (1996).

M. Bier, K.S. Kits, and J.G.G. Borst, The Relation between Risetimes and Amplitudes of GABA-ergic Postsynaptic Currents Journal of Neurophysiology, 75, (no. 3), 1008-1012, (1996).

R.D. Astumian and M. Bier, Mechanochemical Coupling of the Motion of Molecular Motors to ATP Hydrolysis Biophysical Journal 70, 637-653, 1996.

M. Bier and R.D. Astumian, Biased Brownian Motion as the Operating Principle for Microscopic Engines Bioelectrochemistry & Bioenergetics 39, 67-75, (1996).

M. Bier, Reversals of Noise Induced Flow Physics Letters A 211 (no. 1), 12-18, (1996).

P.R. Jensen, A.A. Van der Gugten, M. Bier, W.C. Van Heeswijk, J. Rohwer, D. Molenaar, D. Van Workum, P. Richard, B. Teusink, B.M. Bakker, B.N. Kholodenko, and H.V. Westerhoff, Hierarchies in Control Journal of Biological Systems 3 (no. 1), 187-196, (1995).

J.G.G. Borst, K.S. Kits, and M. Bier, Variance analysis of GABA-ergic in IPSCs of Melanotropes from Xenopus Laevis Biophysical Journal 67, 183-189, (1994).

R.D. Astumian and M. Bier, Fluctuation Driven Ratchets - Molecular Motors Physical Review Letters 72 (no 11), 1766-1769, (1994).

M. Bier and R.D. Astumian, Matching a Diffusive and a Kinetic Approach for Escape over a Fluctuating Barrier Physical Review Letters 71 (no 10), 1649-1652, (1993).

T. Bountis, V. Papageorgiou, and M. Bier, On the Singularity Analysis of Intersecting Separatrices in Near-Integrable Dynamical Systems Physica D 24, 292-304, 1987.

M. Bier and T.C. Bountis, Remerging Feigenbaum Trees in Dynamical Systems Physics Letters 104A (no 5), 239-244, (1984).

T.C. Bountis, M. Bier, and J. Hijmans, On the Integrability of Some Generalized Lotka-Volterra Systems Physics Letters 97A (no 1,2), 11-14, (1983).

Other Publications:

J.C. Weaver and M. Bier, Signals, Noise, and Thresholds, in Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields - Bioengineering and Biophysical Aspects of Electromagnetic Fields Part 1 and Part 2, Edited by Frank S. Barnes and Ben Greenebaum, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL 2007. p169-201.

M. Bier, The Noisy Steps of a Motor Protein in UPoN 2002: 3rd International Conference on Unsolved Problems of Noise and Fluctuations in Physics, Biology, and High Technology Edited by Sergey M. Bezrukov, "AIP Conference Proceedings 665" Washington, DC 2002. p290-297.

M. Bier and M. Kostur, Nonlinearly Coupled Chemical Reactions in Stochastic Processes in Physics, Chemistry and Biology Eds. J. A. Freund and T. Poeschel , Springer Series "Lecture Notes on Physics 557" Springer-Verlag, Berlin 2000. p206-211.

M. Bier, A Motor Protein Model and how it Relates to Stochastic Resonance, Feynman's Ratchet and Maxwell's Demon in Lectures on Stochastic Dynamics Eds. L. Schimansky-Geier and T. Poeschel, Springer Series "Lecture Notes on Physics 484" Springer-Verlag, 1997. p29-35.

M. Bier, J.G.G. Borst and K.S. Kits, On Inferring the Kinetic Scheme of an Ion Channel from Postsynaptic Currents in Biomedical Physics Horizons Edited by D.N. Ghista, 1996. p115 - 124.

H.V. Westerhoff, M. Bier, D. Molenaar, E.C. Spoelstra, J. Lankelma, A.P.M. Jongsma, P.R. Jensen, P. Richard and B.N. Kholodenko, Control of Dynamics and Steady State; Theory and Applications to Multidrug Resistance in Biomedical Physics Horizons Edited by D.N. Ghista, 1996. p25-31.

T. Bountis, M.Bier, and V. Papageorgiou, A Singularity Analysis Approach to the Solutions of Duffing's Equation in Symmetries and Singularity Structures, eds. M. Lakshmanan and M. Daniel, Springer, Heidelberg, 1991. p112-120.

Other Stuff - in English:

The idea that prayer can kill bacterial pathogens appears to not want to die. Here is another attempt to make clear that prayer is mere homeopathy for the soul and that imaginary friends are to be kept out of the test tubes.

Critical Analysis is appropriate when a perpetuum mobile is for sale. With just a little bit of high school physics everyone can understand why it will never work.

A small urban wind turbine. It costs a few thousand dollars. Will you ever make that money back? Probably not.

Cold nuclear fusion is another idea that is hard to wipe out. Pons & Fleischmann should have been the end of it. Here is an article about the E-Cat sham.

The 2006 cold-fusion-theory of Widom and Larsen is a topic of much debate in the cold fusion community. Perspectives of physicists from outside the cold fusion field appear to not be part of the debate. This paper gives such a perspective.

An article about the dubious science and the deplorable "alternative" medicine that has resulted from attempts to merge biology and quantum physics.

An article in the "Mathematical Tourist" section of the Mathematical Intelligencer. It is about a 1991 trip to the Janos Bolyai museum.

Andere zaken - in het Nederlands:

Eens hoop ik de Nederlandse vertaling van het volledig verzameld dichtwerk van Andrzej Bursa te voltooien. Hier een keuze uit wat ik tot nog toe vertaald heb.

Al enige jaren draag ik geregeld bij aan kloptdatwel.nl - een website van de Stichting Skepsis. Hier een opsomming en links naar m'n stukjes.

Kun je met opborrelende luchtbelletjes energie uit het niets halen? Het is niet moeilijk om in te zien dat ook dit perpetuum mobile niet werkt.

Voor een paarduizend euro kunt U een eigen windturbine kopen met een diameter van anderhalve meter. Een analyse toont aan dat het onwaarschijnlijk is dat de investering zichzelf binnen een decennium terugverdient.

Een artikel in het Nederlands Tijdschrift tegen de Kwakzalverij. Waarom is het dat de uitbarstingen van de mazelen in de Nederlandse Bijbelgordel steeds om de twaalf jaar plaatsgrijpen? Deze uitleg is ook voor niet-specialisten goed te begrijpen.

Kwakzalverij is vaak dodelijk. De Poolse zanger Jacek Kaczmarski wenste geen chirurgie toen er keelkanker bij hem werd geconstateerd. Hier is beschreven wat er vervolgens gebeurde.

Is het zwendel en beunhazerij? Of is het een wetenschappelijk misverstand? De koude kernfusie weigert de weg van de spontane generatie en het geocentrisme te gaan. Hier een historisch overzicht en een populair-wetenschappelijke uitleg. Een geredigeerde versie met minder grondige bronvermelding verscheen in Skepter.

Het zou mooi zijn indien het waar was. Maar voorbehoud lijkt op z'n plaats jegens een recente claim dat je van pornografie paranormaal zou kunnen worden. Dit artikel verscheen in 2011 (nr. 1, jg 11) in "Wonder en is gheen wonder," het driemaandelijks tijdschrift van SKEPP (Studiekring voor Kritische Evaluatie van Pseudo-wetenschap en het Paranormale).

Het is echt waar! Een gepensioneerde Turkse politieman heeft z'n perpetuum mobile gedemonstreerd aan de TU Delft! Hier mijn kritische noot. Een en ander gaf zowaar aanleiding tot een stukje op de notoire website www.geenstijl.nl.

Een recensie van het boek "Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World" van Eugenie Samuel Reich. De recensie verscheen in het Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Natuurkunde, het maandblad van de Nederlandse Natuurkundige Vereniging, in de November 2009 uitgave (Vol 75, nr 11).

Pseudowetenschappers en kwakzalvers schermen veel met kwantummechanica. Over "De Verkrachting van de Psi" leest U hier. De niet-geredigeerde versie is hier.

Drie bijdragen aan Writers Block Magazine: Profit-evaluator (Februari 1998), Een Baldakijn van Waterdamp (Januari 2006), & De Bezwering van de Gonorroe (December 2006).

Twee gedichten in Fluisterend, Jaargang 2, nr 3, mei 1998.

Twee gedichten in Meander, nr 3 (januari) & nr 4 (maart) 1998

Na języku polskim:

Poświata Kirliana, artykuł o wyładowaniu koronowym, pseudonauce i szalbierstwie.

In italiano:

Camillo Franchini translated the extensive article about "Fusione Nucleare Fredda - da Fleischmann & Pons all' E-cat di Rossi" from English into Italian.

Curriculum Vitae

Finally, see here for a complete CV.