Constructal Law & The Physics of Life –the Ecosomatics podcast

artworks-000447368163-v7r6t4-t500x500 In this one-hour long interview on the Ecosomatics podcast, Professor Adrian Bejan discusses the Constructal Law & The Physics of Life.


The Tortoise and the Hare

41598_2018_30303_Fig9_HTML.png “The fastest animals and vehicles are neither the biggest nor the fastest over lifetime” is the subtitle of A. Bejan, U. Gunes, J. D. Charles, and B. Sahin in their Nature Scientific Report published the 27 August 2018.

Thanks to their theory, in this article, the authors explained phenomena such as the emergence of animal “outliers”:  higher speed at smaller body mass.

They show that what accounts for the animal outlier also accounts for the vehicle outlier: military jet fighter are smaller and reach speeds higher than the biggest commercial aircraft. Yet, like the cheetah, the jet fighter spends most of its active life at rest, on the ground, out of sight.  This new view gives the word ‘outlier’ a different meaning: the jet fighter is the outlier because, during its overall lifetime, it is slower than the bigger commercial aircraft, which spend most of its time flying.

This new meaning is in fact the oldest, taught by Aesop in his fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”: what matters in the life of the mover is the movement – i.e. the territory covered, the speed averaged – over the whole lifetime.

Thermodynamics Today

In a recent paper published in the prestigious “Energy”, Bejan presents his view on Thermodynamics and Science itself.

“Science is like a civilized territory that improves, prospers and expands because it makes life better for the people who belong to it. It expands as long as it keeps producing useful things, which attract people. The civilized welcome the newcomers, the nobodies, provided that they obey the laws, the discipline. People join because their lives become better that way.”

“To fight the barbarians who pillage on the perimeter is a necessary and unpleasant effort, a nuisance, not the objective. As the defeated barbarians are assimilated and civilized, the civilized territory expands and, as a result, life, peace, movement and freedom flourish. The civilized territory that does not fight the pillagers is destined to disappear along with the good way of life that it was sustaining.”

“Thermodynamics, like all the useful artifacts (e.g., science) produced by the civilized, is no different.” (open access for one month)

Human innovation and enlightenment explained by Physics

 Ephrat Livni reviews, in this Quartz article, the application of Constructal theory to the physical description of innovation and human illumination. Livni article refers to a recent research paper on Social organization by A. Bejan  and other researchers: Social organization: The thermodynamic basis.

Simply put, the theory explains that “this theoretical framework also reveals the physical meaning of innovation: It is a local design change that liberates the flow over the entire territory inhabited by the organized movers”. In brief,  innovations open new pathways that generate opportunity for more movement for everyone around them.

And, as the local invention attract sudden movement, then the whole flowing area, or population, becomes wealthier than before. According to Bejan, “this is the tangible, or physical effect of a single idea, and why research, science, questioning, and tinkering benefit the whole of society”.

Read the full story by Ephrat Livni on Quartz: Physics can explain human innovation and enlightenment, June 30, 2018.