Evolution as Physics: A bird? A plane? It’s all physics

Airplanes evolutionThe paper, “The evolution of airplanes,”created a media stir earlier this year when it was published online by the Journal of Applied Physics. The authors contend that the  similarities seen across aircraft designs are a manifestation of the same law that drives the evolution of biological creatures and terrain features like river basins.

Lead author Adrian Bejanof Duke University describes the methodology behind the paper and the predictive value of the constructal law, the theory he developed 19 years ago to explain the “oneness” he sees in the evolution of living and non-living systems.

Constructal Law & Second Law Conference

Constructal Thermodynamics 18-19 May 2015   Parma, Italy   


Early registration: 15 November 2014

The Constructal Law governs the phenomena of design and evolution in nature. The conference explores the unifying power of the Constructal Law and its applications in all the domains of design generation and evolution, from biology and geophysics to social organization, energy sustainability and security.

The conference also covers the Second Law, and how the Constructal Law fits in thermodynamics. The Constructal Law and the Second Law are self-standing as first principles. Together, they empower science much more than the Second Law alone.


The evolution of airplanes

Airplanes Figure 1Abstract: The prevailing view is that we cannot witness biological evolution because it occurred on a time scale immensely greater than our lifetime. Here, we show that we can witness evolution in our lifetime by watching the evolution of the flying human-and-machine species: the airplane.

We document this evolution, and we also predict it based on physics principles. We show that the airplanes must obey theoretical allometric rules that unite them with the birds and other animals. For example, the larger airplanes are faster, more efficient as vehicles, and have greater range.

The engine mass is proportional to the body size: this scaling is analogous to animal design, where the mass of the motive organs (muscle, heart, lung) is proportional to the body size. Large or small, airplanes exhibit a proportionality between wing span and fuselage length, and between fuel load and body size. The animal-design counterparts of these features are evident. The view that emerges is that the evolution phenomenon is broader than biological evolution. The evolution of technology, river basins, and animal design is one phenomenon, and it belongs in physics.


The World Cup’s Light-Color Advantage

colorsAccording to Adrian Bejan and J. Peder Zane, authors of  “Design in Nature”, 83% of the winners after the group stage at the World Cup in Brazil wore lighter colors than their opponents – and this is neither an anomaly nor a coincidence.

Instead it reveals a deciding factor in all team sports that, funnily enough, is recognized but not seen. This factor provides surprising insight into the phenomenon of “home-field advantage” and how subtle physical advantages rooted in physics often mean the difference in closely contested matches.

The lighter colors are easier to see because light colors reflect more light than darker ones. This is an advantage, helping teams be united and in sync with the flow of the game.

For fast-flowing team sports like soccer, vision and cognition are as crucial to success as speed and conditioning. In soccer, where scoring chances are rare, the ability to spot your teammate a split second faster can mean the difference between a thread-the-needle pass for a goal or another just-miss.

blogtalkradio.com: A Kind Voice on Big Ideas & Philosophy

A Kind Voice



Inteview with Adrian Bejan, a former player on the Romanian national basketball team, who is currently a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University.  We will discuss flows in nature and sports, as well as get to know Professor Bejan and his work.

Professor Bejan’s developed the Constructal Law, which is the law of physics that accounts for the universal phenomenon of generation of design (configuration, pattern, geometry) in nature.  The constructal law was stated by Professor Bejan in 1996 as follows: “For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that it provides easier access to the imposed currents that flow through it.”

Convection Heat Transfer, 4th Edition


Convection Heat Transfer, 4th Ed.

A new edition of the bestseller on convection heat transfer

A revised edition of the industry classic, Convection Heat Transfer, Fourth Edition, chronicles how the field of heat transfer has grown and prospered over the last two decades. This new edition is more accessible, while not sacrificing its thorough treatment of the most up-to-date information on current research and applications in the field.

One of the foremost leaders in the field, Adrian Bejan has pioneered and taught many of the methods and practices commonly used in the industry today. He continues this book’s long-standing role as an inspiring, optimal study tool by providing:

  • Coverage of how convection affects performance, and how convective flows can be configured so that performance is enhanced
  • How convective configurations have been evolving, from the flat plates, smooth pipes, and single-dimension fins of the earlier editions to new populations of configurations: tapered ducts, plates with multiscale features, dendritic fins, duct and plate assemblies (packages) for heat transfer density and compactness, etc.
  • New, updated, and enhanced examples and problems that reflect the author’s research and in the field since the last edition
  • A solutions manual.

Complete with hundreds of informative and original illustrations, Convection Heat Transfer, Fourth Edition is the most comprehensive and approachable text for students in schools of mechanical engineering.advances in the field since the last edition.