Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics

Theory of Physics Explains Human Patterns. ‘Why does a railway network look like a river? Why do the streets of old Rome look like a leaf? Because whether their shape is determined by the interactions of molecules or the choices made by individual humans, all of these systems of flow are governed by a relatively simple new principle of thermodynamics.
“Society, with all its layers and features of organization, is a flow system,” say co-editors Adrian Bejan and Gilbert Merkx of Duke University. Consequently, these repeating patterns are no accident. “Coincidences that occur in the billions are loud hints that a universal phenomenon is in play.”
That’s the premise of an ambitious new collection of essays in the text “Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics,” published June 13 by Springer Science+Business Media.
First described a decade ago by Bejan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Duke, the constructal theory is a deceptively simple explanation for why these branching patterns occur so frequently: for a flow system to persist in time, its configuration must change such that it provides easier access to its currents. Simply put, if something is flowing, it will branch in a fairly predictable pattern to reduce imperfections like friction, or in this case, bumping into pedestrians coming the other way. “Natural systems will always move toward faster access or easier flow,” Bejan said.
We see the resulting branching pattern at all scales, from the alveoli of the lungs, to the paths animals take to a watering hole, to the streams of a great river delta. Each of these structures has been honed by time to handle flow as efficiently as possible. Social scientists who are applying the theory to their fields suddenly see constructal patterns in everything from human migration patterns to a bowl of boiling rigatoni.’

Constructal Theory Web Portal. ‘The constructal theory of global optimization under local constraints explains in a simple manner the shapes that arise in nature. It is the thought that flow architecture comes from a principle of maximization of flow access, in time, and in flow configuration that are free to morph.
The Constructal law proclaims a tendency in time about the generation of animate and inanimate flow systems: “the maximization of access for the currents that flows through a morphing flow system “. This theory replaces the belief that nature is fractal, and allow one to design and analyse systems under constraints in a quest for optimality.
This theory allows the design and understanding of natural systems, thermal dissipators, communication networks, etc.
The constructal theory was invented by Adrian Bejan.’

Adrian Bejan’s Homepage@Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University

Wikipedia articles: Constructal theory and Adrian Bejan

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