Design in Nature

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Adrian Bejan takes the recurring patterns in nature—trees, tributaries, air passages, neural networks, and lightning bolts—and reveals how a the Constructal Law accounts for the evolution of these and all other designs in our world. Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, and Social Organization, written with J. Peder Zane, looks at how everything—from biological life to inanimate systems—generates shape and structure and evolves in a sequence of ever-improving designs in order to facilitate flow.


Adrian Bejan

Comments [22]

John A.

To Arthur from Astoria,
I will be checking out your list, except for Mandelbrot and de Chardin,
who have already been visited in my reading. Bejan shouldn't present himself like he's in a vacuum - it violates the social flow.

Feb. 03 2012 12:12 PM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Oh, It's actually not correct that no one has been able to justify Einstein and QM.

I's only counter intuitive how you need to make them consistent, and I worked that out some time ago, just have no one interested in the proof. It also helps make the seeming conflicts with Bejan's Constructal Law work out too, and nothing is damaged but our egos!! ;-)

What unifies the disparate "laws" like relativity, QM and Bejan's flow geometries, that indeed can't be derived from each other, is that they are each man made statistical descriptions of how other (unnamed and undescribed) natural mechanisms. It just makes science "descriptive" and dependent kinds of processes we have no information about, rather than "deterministic". That upsets nothing at all, EXCEPT the assumed completeness of scientific law.

That the underlying mechanisms of nature that work within the statistical bounds of "scientific law", also tells you where to look for them. So, to explore them, as I do, the laws of science can be thought of as boundaries to look **within** for evidence** of instrumental processes as yet unstudied. Because that was a "whole new question" as I began, a lot of things turned out to be easy to find.

Feb. 02 2012 12:58 PM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Oh, I worked out how Einstein and QM are consistent with each other. It also helps make the seeming conflicts with Bejan's Constructal Law work out too.

What unifies the disparate "laws" like relativity, QM and flow geometries that can't be derived from each other, is that they are all man made statistical descriptions of other (unnamed) natural mechanisms. It makes science "descriptive" rather than "deterministic" and upsets nothing but our egos....

The underlying mechanisms of nature have to be left undefined, but can be explored further, as I do, by studying the laws of science as boundaries **within which I can be fairly sure to find evidence** of instrumental processes as yet unstudied.

Feb. 02 2012 12:44 PM
Arthur from Astoria, NY

Your guest sounds quite a lot like a heady stew of Mandelbrot, Delueze and Guattari ("1000 Plateaus", "Anti-Oedipus", "Difference and Repetition"), Manuel DeLanda, Tielhard de Chardin, and Stuart Kauffman, to name a few.

Feb. 02 2012 12:42 PM
Howard from Bronx

In 1917, Prof. D'Arcy Thompson wrote a book called "On Growth and Form" which discusses how specific processes cause growth in specific patterns. This seems to be a rehash or similar. And he does sound like Alan Arkin.

Feb. 02 2012 12:41 PM
Will from Brooklyn

Converse to John's question about entropy, how would you relate your constructal law to the idea of emergent complexity/extropy?

Feb. 02 2012 12:34 PM
pete from nj

FYI: “Death of a Salesman” will be streaming on our website. The event will stream live at 7 at (You may not be able to see the window until just before the event, however.)
I hope you enjoy tonight’s program!

Feb. 02 2012 12:33 PM
John Richards from Manhattan

Can seeking the path of easiest flow path simply a consequence of the system seeking the state of lowest thermodynamic free energy?

Feb. 02 2012 12:30 PM
John A.

People get surprising numbers of cues for their personal philosophies from scientists, from Sagan and Dawkins for example. Hopes are is that this is a start away from Selfishness as a theme to Connectedness as one. God knows our society needs it

Feb. 02 2012 12:30 PM
yourgo from astoria

Very interesting work and theories.
Thank You for your insights and creating a word for this theory that will allow it to be researched and discussed easier.

Feb. 02 2012 12:27 PM

At what scale does the theory break down? At a galactic scale it seems to apply but beyond that? At the Hiesenberg/Quantum scale ... how do you explain the uncertainty of position?

Feb. 02 2012 12:27 PM
Jimmy from US Virgin Islands

What about habitat destruction and habitat fragmentation? What can constructal law teach us in order to enhance restoration ecology practices to restore denuded ecosystems?

Feb. 02 2012 12:27 PM
Elliot from long island

That guest sure sounds like Alan Arkin trying to pull a fast one!

Feb. 02 2012 12:25 PM
Amy from Manhattan

On evolution, how about this: Mutations arise randomly in an organism, & natural selection causes the ones most likely to be passed to future generations to be those that give the organism a survival advantage in the relevant flow system according to the constructal law.

Feb. 02 2012 12:25 PM
Deborah Kahan from Stamford, CT

AS a piano teacher I often intrigue Intermediate and Advanced students by showing them how the arrangements of notes on the musical staff is a double-helix, akin to the DNA/RNA formation! They are amazed, until I tell them that patterns are basic and are imitated in all aspects of life!

Feb. 02 2012 12:23 PM
elizabeth thompson from brooklyn

Please ask your guest to comment on this:
Buckminster Fullers developed theories and an entire new system of geometry - synergetic geometry - to articulate mathematically the fundamental structure of nature. Did Fuller's work impact your research?

Feb. 02 2012 12:22 PM
John from Clinton Hill

What about the "flow" of an evolutionary chart, for example, like Eukaryotes?

Feb. 02 2012 12:22 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

What's with all these theories and stuff? We all KNOW that God created the heavens and the earth and everything in 6 days about 6000 years ago, so why are we breaking our heads to understand all this stuff? :)

Feb. 02 2012 12:19 PM

OMG! What an insight!

Form follows function

(but i think that someone already has the t-shirt copyright -
probably Beyonce>)

Feb. 02 2012 12:12 PM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Could you ask him if it applies to growth systems, like economies, or self-organization in the development of cultures

Feb. 02 2012 12:10 PM
stephanie from colorado

How does flow theory correlate with fractal math?

Feb. 02 2012 12:10 PM
John A.

Where does the author place Himself in the hierarchy of thought on the matter? In other words, who does he list as some of his philosophical teachers?

Feb. 02 2012 12:06 PM

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