Re: >RE: What does ID mean?

Allan Harvey (
Mon, 20 Apr 1998 10:04:16 -0600

At 08:02 AM 4/20/98 -0700, E G M wrote:

>---Glenn Morton <
>> Actually as Prigogine showed, the 2nd law does not even apply to a
>> system. So far from defying entropy, entropy is not applicable to
>> living systems.
>An I disagree, Entropy has to do with EVERYTHING. If you have matter
>and energy involved in some process you have ENTROPY.

As a resident thermodynamicist here, let me intervene quickly. You are
_both_ sort of right.

Eduardo is right in that entropy and the 2nd Law are universal concepts
which are not invalidated in living systems. Glenn is right in that the
common ways people talk about them (for example, the idea that entropy
always increases in a system) are not generally valid in these systems
that are not isolated and also not at (and often not near) equilibrium.
Entropy and the 2nd law can still be useful concepts for these systems,
but (as Prigogine did) you have to do some things differently than in the
equilibrium thermodynamics most of us are used to.

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | "Don't blame the |
| National Institute of Standards & Technology | government for what I |
| 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303 | say, or vice versa." |