Self-Organization and Dissipative Structures: Applications in the Physical and Social Sciences

Self-Organization and Dissipative Structures: Applications in the Physical and Social Sciences


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The contributions to this volume attempt to apply different aspects of Ilya Prigogine's Nobel-prize-winning work on dissipative structures to nonchemical systems as a way of linking the natural and social sciences. They address both the mathematical methods for description of pattern and form as they evolve in biological systems and the mechanisms of the evolution of social systems, containing many variables responding to subjective, qualitative stimuli.

The mathematical modeling of human systems, especially those far from thermodynamic equilibrium, must involve both chance and determinism, aspects both quantitative and qualitative. Such systems (and the physical states of matter which they resemble) are referred to as self-organized or dissipative structures in order to emphasize their dependence on the flows of matter and energy to and from their surroundings. Some such systems evolve along lines of inevitable change, but there occur instances of choice, or bifurcation, when chance is an important factor in the qualitative modification of structure. Such systems suggest that evolution is not a system moving toward equilibrium but instead is one which most aptly evokes the patterns of the living world.

The volume is truly interdisciplinary and should appeal to researchers in both the physical and social sciences. Based on a workshop on dissipative structures held in 1978 at the University of Texas, contributors include Prigogine, A. G. Wilson, Andre de Palma, D. Kahn, J. L. Deneubourgh, J. W. Stucki, Richard N. Adams, and Erick Jantsch.

The papers presented include Allen, "Self-Organization in the Urban System"; Robert Herman, "Remarks on Traffic Flow Theories and the Characterization of Traffic in Cities"; W. H. Zurek and Schieve, "Nucleation Paradigm: Survival Threshold in Population Dynamics"; De Palma et al., "Boolean Equations with Temporal Delays"; Nicholas Georgescu-Roegin, "Energy Analysis and Technology Assessment"; Magoroh Maruyama, "Four Different Causal Meta-types in Biological and Social Sciences"; and Jantsch, "From Self-Reference to Self-Transcendence: The Evolution of Self-Organization Dynamics."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292741645
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 11/26/2014
Pages: 374
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

William C. Schieve is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Center for Complex Quantum Systems at the University of Texas at Austin.

Peter M. Allen is Emeritus Professor in Complex Systems at Cranfield School of Management.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. The Challenge of Complexity (I. Prigogine and P. M. Allen)
  • 2. Self-Organization in Nonequilibrium Chemistry and in Biology (Jack S. Turner)
  • 3. On the Dynamics of Technological Evolutions: Phase Transitions (Elliott W. Montroll)
  • 4. The Many Faces of Scaling: Fractals, Geometry of Nature, and Economics (Benoit B. Mandelbrot)
  • 5. Successive Reequilibrations as the Mechanism of Cultural Evolution (Robert L. Carneiro)
  • 6. The Emergence of Hierarchical Social Structure: The Case of Late Victorian England (Richard Newbold Adams)
  • 7. Self-Organization in the Urban System (P M. Allen)
  • 8. Criticality and Urban Retail Structure: Aspects of Catastrophe Theory and Bifurcation (A. G. Wilson)
  • 9. Trip Making and Locational Choice (Martin J. Beckmann)
  • 10. Creation of Order by Environmental Noise in the Volterra-Lotka Model (J. W. Stucki and W. Horsthemke)
  • 11. Noise-Induced Nonequilibrium Phase Transitions (Werner Horsthemke)
  • 12. Nucleation Paradigm: Survival Threshold in Population Dynamics (W. H. Zurek and W. C. Schieve)
  • 13. The Efficiency of Oxidative Phosphorylation and the Thermodynamic Buffer Enzymes (W. Stucki)
  • 14. Patterns of Nonequilibrium Organization in a Marine Bacterial Population (J. Wagensberg and J. Rodellar)
  • 15. Boolean Equations with Temporal Delays (André de Palma, Isabelle Stengers, and Serge Pahaut)
  • 16. Remarks on Traffic Flow Theories and the Characterization of Traffic in Cities (Robert Herman)
  • 17. Fluctuations in Demand and Transportation Mode Choice (J. L. Deneubourg, A. de Palma, and D. Kahn)
  • 18. A Calibration of the Boltzmann-Like Theory of Traffic Flow (Tenny N. Lam)
  • 19. Energy Analysis and Technology Assessment (Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen)
  • 20. Thermodynamic Constraints in Economic Analysis (R. Stephen Berry and Bjarne Andresen)
  • 21. Economic Dynamics (Russell Davidson)
  • 22. From Self-Reference to Self-Transcendence: The Evolution of Self-Organization Dynamics (Erich Jantsch)
  • 23. Four Different Causal Metatypes in Biological and Social Sciences (Magoroh Maruyama)

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