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Inception: 11/15/05
Variations of the 4th Law of Thermodynamics
[1] (a) A.J.Lotka (1922a) 'Contribution to the energetics of evolution'. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 8:147–51. [PDF].
(b) Lotka, A.J. (1922b). 'Natural Selection as a Physical Principle.' Proc Natl Acad Sci,, 8:151-155. [PDF].
(c) Giannantoni, C. (2002). The Maximum Em-Power Principle as the Basis for Thermodynamic Quality. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida and Center for Environmental Policy. [URL]

[2] Onsager, L. (1931). "Reciprocal Relations in Irreversible Processes." Physics Review 37, 405. [URL].

[3] Rocard, Y. (1952). Source: Perrot, P. (1998). A to Z of Thermodynamics (dictionary). New York: Oxford University Press.

[4] Hatsopoulos, G., & Keenan, J. (1965). Principles of General Thermodynamics. New York: John Wiley and Sons. + [URL]

[5] Morowitz, H. (1968). Energy Flow in Biology: Biological Organization as a Problem in Thermal Physics. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press.

[6] Kelly, D.C. (1973). Source: Perrot, P. (1998). A to Z of Thermodynamics (dictionary). New York: Oxford University Press.

[7] Kestin, J. (1979). Course in Thermodynamics. New York: McGraw-Hill. + [URL]

[8-9] Odum, H.T. (1983). Systems Ecology: An Introduction. New York: John Wiley [644 pgs.] + Giannantoni, C. (2002). The Maximum Em-Power Principle as the Basis for Thermodynamic Quality. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida and Center for Environmental Policy.

[10] Morowitz, H. (1992). Source: []. "What is the fourth Law of Thermodynamics." [URL]

[11] Per Bak (1994). Source: []. "What is the fourth Law of Thermodynamics." [URL]

[12] Odum, H.T. (1996). Environmental Accounting: Emergy and Decision Making. New York: John Wiley. [370 pgs.] + Giannantoni, C. (2002). The Maximum Em-Power Principle as the Basis for Thermodynamic Quality. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida and Center for Environmental Policy.

[13] Perrot, P. (1998). A to Z of Thermodynamics (dictionary). New York: Oxford University Press.

[14] Kauffman, S. (2000). Investigations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[15] Meisa's Lagoon (2004). "The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics" (relationship analogies) [URL]

[16] Jorgensen, S. & Svirezhev, Y. (2004). Towards a Thermodynamic Theory for Ecological Systems. Elsevier Publishers: Pergamon. [URL]

[17] Schneider, E. & Sagan, D. (2005). Into The Cool - Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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Guest Book
Lars Onsager [1903-1976]
The fourth law of thermodynamics is not yet a solidified concept.  What seems to be the case is that many new authors each decade seem to feel compelled to lay claim to a new fourth law of thermodynamics.  The only commonly known reference to a tentative fourth law, however, are the Onsanger reciprocal relations.

The first, however, to have actually stated that their principle may actually be a fourth law of thermodynamics was the physical chemist Alfred Lotka.  In his 1922 energetics articles, he defines energy flux as the available energy absorbed by and dissipated with in the system per unit time.  He then states that as long as there is both a source capable of supplying matter, of a character suitable for the composition of living organism, and a source or supply of available energy, then those species possessing superior energy-capturing and directing devices will be favored in the process of natural selection.  The result, as he states, will be an increase of the total energy flux through the system.  Lotka calls this the principle of maximum energy flux.  In summary, he states that: “this principle functions, as it were, as a third law of thermodynamics; or a fourth, if the third place is given to the Nernst principle.”

More than this, one can also find reference to speculative fifth and sixth laws of thermodynamics, especially in the ecological sciences.  For example, in the preface to Giannantoni's 2002 "The Maximum Em-Power Principle as the Basis for Thermodynamics of Quality" we find a collection of tentative fourth laws as stated by Alfred Lotka and Howard Odum, and then are told that in the following years, several publications refined Odum's definition and added possible fifth and sixth laws of thermodynamics (Odum 2001).  See humorous parody on the twenty-one laws of thermodynamics (source: Uncyclopedia)  As we see, in the science of thermodynamics laws are in abundant supply.

(Odum 2001) An Energy Hierarch Law for Biogeochemical Cycles. [pgs. 235-48]. In Emergy Synthesis: Theory and Applications of the Emergy Methodology, Proceedings of the Inter nation al Workshop on Emergy and Energy Quality, Gainesville, FL. Set. 1999, ed. by M. T. Brownl. Center for Environmental Policy, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville 329 pgs.
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1. Natural selection will operate so as to increase the total mass of the organic system, and to increase the rate of circulation of matter through the system, and to increase the total energy flux through the system so long as there is present an unutilized residue of matter and available energy.
[Principle of Maximum Energy Flux]

2. Ju = Luu∇(1/T) - Lur∇(m/T)
Jr = Lru∇(1/T) - Lrr∇(m/T)
[Reciprocal Relations]

3. By comparing the energy density of the electric field at the surface of an electron to the energy density of radiation given by Stefan’s Law we arrive at a temperature limit for radiation of T ≈ 2 x 1011 K. Rocard

4. When an isolated system performs a process, after the removal of a series of internal constraints, it will always reach a unique state of equilibrium; this state of equilibrium is independent of the order in which the constraints are removed and is characterized by a maximum value of entropy.
[Law of Stable Equilibrium]
[0th + 1st + 2nd Laws subsumed]
Hatsopoulos & Keenan

5. In steady state systems, the flow of energy through the system from a source to a sink will lead to at least one cycle in the system. Morowitz

6. Above a limit around 1011 to 1012 K, the kinetic energy of protons becomes higher than the rest mass of pions; where adding energy at constant volume does not increase the temperature further, but does increase the number and variety of particles present. Kelly

7. Closed systems which are suddenly freed, i.e. after their constraints are removed, tend to move towards a new state of equilibrium, i.e. towards an “attractor”; because it does not depend on the order in which the constraints are removed: the system “has” to move towards that state—not only are some processes irreversible, but processes have a direction and an end.
[Unified Principle of Thermodynamics]

8. Self-organizing systems tend towards the maximization of useful power.
[Maximum Power Principle]

9. In time, through the process of trial and error, complex patterns of structure and processes have evolved… the successful ones surviving because they use materials and energies well in their own maintenance, and compete well with other patterns that chance interposes [Maximum Power Principle]. Odum

10. The flow of energy from a source to a sink through an intermediate system orders that system. Morowitz

11. Slowly driven systems naturally self-organize into a critical state. Per Bak

12. In competition among self-organizing processes, network designs that maximize empower will prevail.
[Maximum Empower Principle]

13. Any statement postulating the existence of an upper limit to the temperature scale.
[between: 1011 to 1012 K]

14. Biospheres and the universe create novelty and diversity as fast as they can manage to do so without destroying the accumulated propagating organization that is the basis and nexus from which further novelty is discovered and incorporated into the propagating organization. Kauffman

15. The universe tends towards love.
[love = exergonic reactions]

16. The maximum power principle. Jorgensen & Svirezhev

17. Matter cycles in regions of energy flow; such cycles, visible in natural complex structures, including those of life, occur as limited material resources scramble to provide a vehicle for entropy export. Schneider & Sagan

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