Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science

2009 Edition
| Editors: Robert A. Meyers (Editor-in-Chief)

Exobiology and Complexity

  • Eric J. Chaisson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30440-3_194

Definition of the Subject

Recent research, guided by theoretical searches for unificationas much as by compilation of huge new databases, suggests that complexsystems throughout Nature are localized, temporary islands of orderedstructures within vastly larger, disordered environments beyond thosesystems. All such complex systems – including, for example,stars, life, and society – can be shown to obeyquantitatively the principles of non‐equilibrium thermodynamics,and all can be modeled in a common, integral manner by analyzingthe energy passing through those systems. The concept of energy flow does seem to be as universal a process as anything yet found inNature for the origin, maintenance, and evolution of ordered, complexsystems. The optimization of such energy flows acts as an agent ofevolution broadly considered, thereby affecting, and to some extentunifying, all of physical, biological, and cultural evolution.

More specifically, non‐equilibrium thermodynamics,especially the energy...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric J. Chaisson
    • 1
  1. 1.Wright CenterTufts UniversityMassachusettsUSA