Institute for Physical Science and Technology
and Department of Physics University of Maryland

MOLECULAR MOTORS:  Observations  and Theory

Michael E. Fisher

Distinguished University  Professor and Regents Professor
Wolf prize winner and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Abstract: Molecular motors are protein molecules that drive much active biological motion .
Recently, striking experiments have observed single motor protein molecules in vitro pulling loads along linear molecular tracks.
Thus a kinesin molecule takes hundreds  of discrete steps of 8.2 nm along a mirotubule, while consuming one "fuel molecule" of
ATP per step, and may reach an average speed of nearly a micron per second.

How "mechanical" are such , motors? And what forces do they exert? How "should" their motion be described theoretically? Exact
results derived for random walks in random enviroments, and subsequent developments, yiels effective tools.