The Physics of Life, by Adrian Bejan

PL coverThe Physics of Life, The Evolution of Everything, is Prof. Adrian Bejan last book, and will be released May, the 24th.

Kirkus ‘Starred’ Review:

“​Renowned energy scientist Bejan (Mechanical Engineering/Duke Univ.; co-author: Design in Nature, 2013, etc.) reorients the query “what is life” within the perspective of physics. Founder of the “constructal law,” which holds that “power and dissipation conspire to facilitate all movement on earth, animate and inanimate, animal, human, and machine,” the author elegantly argues that evolution transcends the boundaries of the biological and governs the flow of all phenomena. His theory both reorients how we think of physics, shifting focus from the effect of the individual to a necessary entanglement of the whole, and also empowers us to consider “life” as all manifestations of forward flow. From this perspective, Bejan analyzes such myriad subjects as athletics, technology, migratory patterns, and even the ice volume of snowflakes to prove his point—which he does well and often throughout the book. In compelling and mostly nontechnical language, he argues, “the live system has flow, organization, freedom to change, and evolution.” From this, agency derives power, and from power comes movement, a symbiosis that is the manifestation of the “life laws” of physics in living and nonliving things.

While it may take a careful rereading of certain chapters to truly grasp the author’s novel unifying theory, it is worth the effort, as his book-length proof is at once riveting and poetic. Rarely are scientists capable of translating esoteric concepts in such broad strokes without losing coherence, but Bejan’s persistent focus on the details brings the constructal law to life via the everyday. In the end, his blend of science and the philosophy of design (among other disciplines) is convincing and may just shift your perspective of self.

Unique and entirely fascinating, this book will linger in your consciousness and prompt you to look at the world with fresh eyes. ​”

The hierarchy of bodies in space

2D celestial bodies

Bodies of the same size suspended uniformly in space constitute a system in a state of uniform volumetric tension because of mass-to-mass forces of attraction.

This new paper  shows that such a system “snaps” hierarchically, and evolves faster to a state of reduced tension when the bodies coalesce hierarchically, into few large and many small bodies suspended in the same space.

Hierarchy, not uniformity, is the design that emerges, and it is in accord with the constructal law.


The design evolution of drawings

Walk Dont WalkCentral concepts and words that underpin the physics of evolutionary design today are reviewed in this article, such as: information, knowledge, evolution, change, arrow of time, pattern, fractal dimension, icon, model,  second law, and the constructal law. It shows that drawings, as physical means to facilitate the flow of knowledge, are subject to the natural tendency toward design evolution.

Like a rolling stone—live longer and travel farther

Like a rolling stoneA recent paper by Professor Adrian Bejan published in Nature Scientific Reports unites animate and inmate life on Earth thanks to the Constructal Law.

Prof. Bejan demonstrate in this article that the simplest and oldest forms of evolutionary movement—rolling bodies and whirls of turbulence—exhibit the same body-size effect on life time and life travel as the evolutionary movement united by the body-size effect so far: animals, rivers, vehicles, jets and plumes.

In short, the bigger should last longer and travel farther.

The Key to Sustainability: Flows of Water and Electricity

European ReviewIn this publication, A. Bejan draws attention  to the emerging literature and physics principle (constructal law) that provide the scientific foundation for sustainability. He shows that the sustainability need is about flow: the flow of energy and the flow of water through the inhabited space.

All the flows needed for human life such as transportation, heating, or cooling, water are driven by the purposeful consumption of fuels, and this is why the wealth of a country (the GDP) is directly proportional to the annual consumption of fuel in that country.

Sustainability comes from greater freedom in changing the organization – the flow architecture – that sustains life. Greater freedom to change the design (from water and power to laws and government) leads to greater flow, wealth, life and staying power, i.e. sustainability