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Physics of Self-Organization and Evolution

ISBN: 978-3-527-63680-8
576 pages
September 2011
Physics of Self-Organization and Evolution (3527636803) cover image


This thoroughly updated version of the German authoritative work on self-organization has been completely rewritten by internationally renowned experts and experienced book authors to also include a review of more recent literature. It retains the original enthusiasm and fascination surrounding thermodynamic systems far from equilibrium, synergetics, and the origin of life, representing an easily readable book and tutorial on this exciting field.

The book is unique in covering in detail the experimental and theoretical fundamentals of self-organizing systems as well as such selected features as random processes, structural networks and multistable systems, while focusing on the physical and theoretical modeling of natural selection and evolution processes. The authors take examples from physics, chemistry, biology and social systems, and include results hitherto unpublished in English.

The result is a one-stop resource relevant for students and scientists in physics or related interdisciplinary fields, including mathematical physics, biophysics, information science and nanotechnology.

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Table of Contents

Preface IX

1 Introduction to the Field of Self-Organization 1

1.1 Basic Concepts 1

1.2 History of Evolution as a Short Story 6

1.3 Structure, Self-organization, and Complexity 14

1.4 Entropy, Equilibrium, and Nonequilibrium 17

1.5 Dynamics, Stability, and Instability 25

1.6 Self-Organization of Information and Values 28

2 Fundamental Laws of Equilibrium and Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics 35

2.1 The Thermodynamic Way of Describing Nature – Basic Variables 35

2.2 Three Fundamental Laws and the Gibbs Relation of Thermodynamics 45

2.3 Thermodynamic Potentials, Inequalities, and Variational Principles 55

2.4 Irreversible Processes and Self-Organization 63

2.5 Irreversible Radiation Transport 70

2.6 Irreversible Processes and Fluctuations 76

2.7 Toward a Thermodynamics of Small Systems Far from Equilibrium 80

3 Evolution of Earth and the Terrestrial Climate 85

3.1 The Photon Mill 88

3.2 Black-Body Radiation Model of Earth 91

3.3 Local Seasonal Response 99

3.4 Atmospheric Cooling Rate 104

3.5 Black-Body Model with Atmosphere 106

3.6 Humidity and Latent Heat 110

3.7 Greenhouse Effect 119

3.8 Spatial Structure of the Planet 124

3.9 Early Evolution of Earth 149

4 Nonlinear Dynamics, Instabilities, and Fluctuations 163

4.1 State Space, Dynamic Systems, and Graphs 163

4.2 Deterministic Dynamic Systems 168

4.3 Stochastic Models for Continuous Variables and Predictability 177

4.4 Graphs – Mathematical Models of Structures and Networks 187

4.5 Stochastic Models for Discrete Variables 194

4.6 Stochastic Processes on Networks 200

5 Self-Reproduction, Multistability, and Information Transfer as Basic Mechanisms of Evolution 211

5.1 The Role of Self-Reproduction and Multistability 211

5.2 Deterministic Models of Self-Reproduction and Bistability 213

5.3 Stochastic Theory of Birth-and-Death Processes 218

5.4 Stochastic Analysis of the Survival of the New 222

5.5 Survival of the New in Bistable Systems 226

5.6 Multistability, Information Storage, and Information Transfer 230

6 Competition and Selection Processes 237

6.1 Discussion of Basic Terms 237

6.2 Extremum Principles 241

6.3 Dynamical Models with Simple Competition 244

6.4 Stochastic of Simple Competition Processes 253

6.5 Competition in Species Networks 264

6.6 Selection and Coexistence 278

6.7 Hyperselection 284

6.8 Selection in Ecological Systems 288

6.9 Selection with Sexual Replication 297

6.10 Selection between Microreactors 301

6.11 Selection in Social Systems 306

7 Models of Evolution Processes 311

7.1 Sequence-Evolution Models 314

7.2 Evolution on Fitness Landscapes 319

7.3 Evolution on Smooth Fisher–Eigen Landscapes 321

7.4 Evolution on Random Fisher–Eigen Landscapes 328

7.5 Evolution on Lotka–Volterra Landscapes 333

7.6 Axiomatic Evolution Models 340

7.7 Boolean Behavior in the Positive Cone 342

7.8 Axiomatic Description of a Boolean Reaction System 349

7.9 Reducible, Linear, and Ideal Boolean Reaction Systems 352

7.10 Minor and Major of a Boolean Reaction System 355

7.11 Selection and Evolution in Boolean Reaction Systems 356

8 Self-Organization of Information and Symbols 363

8.1 Symbolic Information 364

8.2 Structural Information 368

8.3 Extracting Structural Information 371

8.4 Physical Properties of Symbols 375

8.5 Properties of the Ritualization Transition 381

8.6 Genetic Code 384

8.7 Sexual Recombination 390

8.8 Morphogenesis 392

8.9 Neuronal Networks 396

8.10 Spoken Language 402

8.11 Possession 405

8.12 Written Language 406

8.13 Money 409

9 On the Origin of Life 413

9.1 Catalytic Cascades in Underoccupied Networks 415

9.2 Formation of Spatial Compartments 418

9.3 Replicating Chain Molecules 421

9.4 Molecular Information Processing 428

9.5 Darwinian Evolution 433

10 Conclusion and Outlook 441

10.1 Basic Physical Concepts and Results 441

10.2 Quo Vadis Evolutio? 447

References 453

Index 501

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Author Information

Werner Ebeling is Professor em. at the prestigious Humboldt University in Berlin.
His research interests focus on self organization, non-linear systems and dynamics and quantum statistics.
He has authored a large number of books in three languages, some of them published with Akademie-Verlag (now part of Wiley) as well as an impressive array of research papers.
He has been closely working with Rainer Feistel, who also is already author for Wiley. His research is on thermodynamics of seawater and theory of complex systems.
He also has authored many papers and books, partly together with Prof. Ebeling.
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"The book is not only valuable for 'former friends', but can be warmly recommended for all who are interested in self-organization and evolution. Although the book is not written as a textbook, the chapters 4 to 7 in connection with the huge number of references render possible to study this field also for beginners. Also seniors in this field can find new aspects in this extensive, detailled and clearly written survey of a large variety of evolution processes. ..."
W. Muschik, J. Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics

The result is a one-stop resource relevant for students and scientists in physics or
related interdisciplinary elds, including mathematical physics, biophysics, information science
and nanotechnology.
"The result is a one-stop resource relevant for students and scientists in physics or related interdisciplinary elds, including mathematical physics, biophysics, information science and nanotechnology." (Zentralblatt MATH 2016)
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