Design in Nature: How the Constructal Law Governs Evolution in Biology, Physics, Technology, and Social Organization

Adrian Bejan and J. Peder Zane. Doubleday, $27.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-53461-1
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The constructal law, as articulated by Duke engineering professor Bejan is relatively simple: systems change over time to maximize the rate of flow through the system. And this high level of efficiency is achieved in similar ways in any dynamic system, whether water flowing through an ecosystem or blood through a body’s circulatory system. Bejan makes the controversial claim that the constructal law explains everything in the world, from the evolution of life to the development of human culture, and can predict how things will evolve—toward the ability to move more freely on Earth. But this tediously repetitious book fails to live up to its predictive promise. Nor can Bejan’s application of his theory to biology be taken seriously when he says, for instance, that biologists claim that evolution cannot be tested or when he conflates “evolving” and “morphing.” Bejan’s reductionism achieves a level of grandiosity when he asserts that constructal theory explains all of human history as a movement toward human freedom and the free flow of ideas. His conclusion is strangely Panglossian: “we can witness many entities morphing—becoming better and better” in this best-designed of all possible worlds. Illus. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/07/2011
Release date: 01/24/2012
Open Ebook - 215 pages - 978-0-385-53462-8
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