The energy changes associated with physicochemical processes are the province of thermodynamics, a subdiscipline of physics. The first two laws of thermodynamics state, in essence, that energy can be neither created nor destroyed and that the effect of physical and chemical changes is to increase the disorder, or randomness (i.e., entropy), of the universe. Although it might be supposed that biological processes—through which organisms grow in a highly ordered and complex manner, maintain order and complexity throughout their life, and pass on the instructions for order to succeeding generations—are in contravention of these laws, this is not so. Living organisms neither consume nor create energy: they can only transform it from one form to another. From the environment they absorb energy in a form useful to them; to the environment they return an equivalent amount of energy in a biologically less useful form. The useful energy, or free energy, may be defined as energy capable of doing work under isothermal conditions (conditions in which no temperature differential exists); free energy is associated with any chemical change. Energy less useful than free energy is returned to the environment, usually as heat. Heat cannot perform work in biological systems because all parts of cells have essentially the same temperature and pressure.