, Volume 2, Issue 11, pp 451–453 | Cite as

Biologie et thermodynamique des phénomènes irréversibles

  • I. Prigogine
  • J. M. Wiame
Vorläufige Mitteilungen


The thermodynamic study of systems in which stationary (non equilibrium) states were possible, led one of us (I. P.) to a number of general conclusions. In the present paper these conclusions are summarized and briefly discussed from a biological standpoint. It appears that the evolution of such systems is towards states with the least production of entropy (per mass unit) compatible with the conditions imposed. In the case of living matter this corresponds approximately to states of minimum metabolism. During this evolution the entropy contained in the system may decrease whilst the heterogenity increases. But this increase in heterogenity can only take place when there is a decrease in the entropy production, that is an evolution of the metabolism. We are thus led to suggest a physicochemical interpretation of Lamarchism. Finally we call attention to the fact that the moderation principle ofLe Chatelier-Braun is not limited to equilibrium states.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    L. v. Bertalanffy, Naturw.28, 521 (1941).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    H. F. Blum, The American Naturalist69, 354 (1935).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. M. Reiner etS. Spiegelman, J. Phys. Chem.49, 81 (1945).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Th. de Donder, L'Affinité (Réd. Nouvelle parP. van Rysselberghe), Gauthier-Villars, Paris 1936.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    I. Prigogine etR. Defay, Thermodynamique chimique conformément aux méthodes deGibbs etDe Donder. 3 tomes (le 3me sous presse), Desoer, Liége 1944–1946.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    I. Prigogine, Etude thermodynamique des phénomènes irréversibles, Liége Desoer (sous presse).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. F. Verschaffelt, Bull. Acad. roy. Belgique (classe des Sciences) (5)28, 490 (1942).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. Meixner, Z. phys. Chem. B.53, 235 (1943).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    C. Eckart, Phys. Rev.58, 919 et 924 (1940).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    L. Onsager, Phys. Rev.35, 405 (1930);36, 2265 (1931).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    I. Prigogine, Etude thermodynamique des phénomènes irréversibles, Liége Desoer (sous presse).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    R. Lambert etG. Teissier, Ann. Phys. Physicochimie biol.2, 212 (1927).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    H. J. Koch, Communication personnelle, en cours de publication.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    A Lwoff, L'évolution physiologique, Hermann, Paris 1943.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    L. Cuenot, Invention et finalité en biologie, Flammarion, Paris 1941.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    C. Jeener, Recueil de l'Institut zoologique Torley-Rousseau3, 121 (1931).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1946

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Prigogine
    • 1
  • J. M. Wiame
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculté des Sciences, Université de BruxellesBelgium

Personalised recommendations