Membranes are those components of a biological cell that
separate the functional units and form the spacial boundaries of the
organelles. The major building block is the lipid bilayer into which
proteins are embedded. Membranes maintain the chemical potentials of
the cell components, and regulate transport. The membrane proteins have
many catalytic and transport properties. The membranes themselves
display all kinds of interesting physical properties: They can melt and
they are characterized by elastic constants, which are important for
membrane fusion and structural changes and depend on the melting.
Furthermore, membranes may be permeable to certain molecules and they
form lateral domains of their components, which are highly discussed in
the context of cell signaling. This course will introduce into the
thermodynamics of membranes, accompanied by electrostatics of layers,
hydrophobic effect, elastic theory and lipid-protein interactions.