Unifying The Animate And The Inanimate Designs Of Nature

Unifying The Animate And The Inanimate Designs Of Nature
A leaping Arctic Grayling shows a form honed by efficiency. (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
Unifying the animate and the inanimate designs of nature
Adrian Bejan is an engineer at Duke University. Credit: Duke University Photography

(PhysOrg.com) -- Living beings and inanimate phenomena may have more in common than previously thought.

At least that is the view of Duke University engineer Adrian Bejan and Penn State biologist James Marden.

What they believe connects the two worlds is a theory that flow systems - from animal locomotion to the formation of river deltas -- evolve in time to balance and minimize imperfections. Flows evolve to reduce friction or other forms of resistance, so that they flow more easily with time. This view has been termed the constructal law, which Bejan first stated 13 years ago.

With the help of Marden, Bejan believes that he has now unified both the biological and geophysical principles of nature's design through the constructal law, which can also be viewed as the physics of evolution.

"This is an exciting development for physicists, but it should also resonate with biologists," Bejan said. "The idea that organic evolution is analogous to the way form evolves in inanimate flow systems is a novel concept that has the potential to unite perspectives and approaches across disparate disciplines. We suggest that the constructal law provides a powerful tool for examining and understanding variation in both the animate and inanimate compartments of nature."

The team's findings were published online in the journal Physics of Life Reviews. It was supported by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation.

The story began with the two scientists trying to determine if the same laws applied to two very different forms of locomotion -- the swimming of fish and the running or flying of animals. The commonly held belief among biologists was that fish locomotion was different than other animal locomotion. Since they live in water, the conventional wisdom held, fish were different because they would not be subject to gravity.

The way Bejan saw it, birds and animals could be seen as weight-lifters, since their means of locomotion required effort with an unyielding base - the ground - and a limitless top - the air. He argued that as fish swim, they too have an unyielding floor - the sea bed. Hence, water flowed over and around them like the air over runners and flyers.

So, fish too were weight-lifters, and these forms of locomotion are predicted by the constructal law, Bejan said.

"Our discovery that animal locomotion adheres to the constructal law tells us that - even though you couldn't predict exactly what animals would look like if you started evolution over on Earth, or it happened on another planet - with a given gravity and density of their tissues, the same basic patterns of their design would evolve again," Marden said.

In numerous papers over past decade, Bejan has demonstrated that the constructal law predicts the design of a wide range of flow systems seen in nature, from biology and geophysics to social dynamics and technology evolution.

"When thinking of evolution and Darwin, most people think of animals or trees," Bejan said. "That's too bad, because design features are everywhere in nature. The constructal law can be seen as a universal principle of evolution, which applies in many fields, from physics to economics."

He describes the law as an animated movie, where one screen is replaced by another screen on which the currents flow with greater ease. He sees the constructal law (www.constructal.org) as the time direction of the movie, flow configurations (designs, drawings) that flow more easily."

"The constructal law can be seen to cover 'natural design' phenomena across the board," Bejan said, "as a compact summary of common observations, the tape of evolution running in one direction, which may be expressed in physics terms simply as: time and configuration."

Source: Duke University (news : web)

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User comments

Apr 28, 2009
Thales saw... there could be no difference between the living and the dead. When asked why he didn't die if there was no difference, he replied "because there is no difference."

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikiped...divinity

Apr 29, 2009
Great! Finally we have people really thinking rationally. Bejan and Marlen need to see a collection of links between cosmological evolution and biological evolution, in http://theuniversalmatrix.com

Few samples:
1- A living male expelling spermatozoon is design and dynamics coming from volcanoes expelling magma;
2- a chicken keeping its offspring warm under its wings is instinct coming from stars keeping planets warm under its gravitational "wings"; and so on...

Apr 29, 2009
Another curious link between abiotic and biotic worlds:

Look to the placenta in the womb around a fetus and look to the map of any continent ( the better one is South America). The placenta has the same shape of a continent. The placenta has a principal vein, with a delta, the vein has several smalls branchs; the continent has a big river (Amazon, Nilo, Mississipi, etc.) with a delta, and several small branchs... What that means? Why the same shape? The placenta is the birth place of an individual and the continent is the birth place of a population those individuals. The similarity is because the two phenomena, biological and planetary, were built by the same universal systemic function, which is described in Matrix Theory.

May 06, 2009
Animate And Inanimate Matter Have Something In Common!
Read All About It! Unbelievable!
The Wheel Is Invented!
Living And Non-living Matter Follow Same Rules?

A. Can Living And Non-living Follow Same Rules? Unifying The Animate And Inanimate Designs Of Nature

B. "22nd Century Conception Of Unified Field Theory And Evolution"

1. EVOLUTION Beyond Darwin 200

2. The following brief essays present the 22nd century comprehension of evolution. They preserve Darwin's name in reference to Life Evolution in respect and appreciation of Darwin's promotion of the concept of evolution in life.

Life's Manifest

Culture, A Ubiquitous Biological Entity

Life And Darwinian Evolution, 21st Century Comprehension

Rethink Unified Field Theory And Evolution

C. On Cosmic Energy And Mass Evolutions

As mass is just another face of energy it is commonsensible to regard not only life, but mass in general, as a format of temporarily constrained energy.

It therefore ensues that whereas the expanding cosmic constructs, the galaxies clusters, are - overall - continuously converting "their share" of original pre-inflation mass back to energy, the overall evolution WITHIN them, within the clusters, is in the opposite direction, temporarily constrained energy packages such as black holes, biospheres and other energy-storing-mass-formats are precariuosly forming and "doing best" to survive as long as "possible"...

Respectfully yours,

Dov Henis
(Comments From The 22nd Century)

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