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Error in "How Cold is Cold Enough"?


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#1 Paul Crowley

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Posted 08 May 2011 - 11:05 AM


"How Cold is Cold Enough?" was a big influence on me in signing up for cryonics, presenting the perfectly common sense reason why we expect freezing in liquid nitrogen to preserve detail for very long periods. However, I recently went to check the figures, and I found what looks like a discrepancy in the claimed activation energy of the "catalase reaction". The text says

I am going to be pessimistic, and choose the fastest known biological reaction, catalase. [...] The value for its E is 7,000 calories per mole-degree Kelvin.

Now "calories per mole-degree Kelvin" isn't the right units in which to measure activation energy, but the figures in the table make sense if you assume that means "calories per mole". That translates to 29 kJ mol-1. However, another source gives a very different figure:

For example for the catalase reaction (2H2O2 -> 2H2O + O2) the activation energy is 86 kJ mol-1 with no catalyst, 62 kJ mol-1 with an inorganic catalyst of iron filings, and just 1 kJ mol-1 in the presence of the enzyme catalase.

Can anyone clarify? Thanks!
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#2 Paul Crowley

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Posted 09 May 2011 - 09:39 PM

My friend Doug sent me a detailed reply in email, which I've posted to my blog.




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