A Thermodynamics Reading List
(that just might blow your mind)

This list contains references I have found essential in my journey towards understanding how the characteristics of living systems (including humans and their social behavior) are shaped by the operation of thermodynamics.

The references specifically address the operation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in open, far-from-equilibrium systems - systems that include life, and by extension human culture.  This operation is characterized by spontaneous self-organization appearing in the presence of energy gradients.  That self-organization spans the scale: physical systems like tornadoes and hurricanes; chemical systems like Belousov-Zhabotinski reactions and Benard cells; living cells; ecosystems; the social systems of insects and animals; and ultimately the cultural systems of humanity.

This is a living list, and is not complete.  I will be adding to it as I find new papers.  It is also thin in the area of human culture, though some papers nod at activities like economics.  The extension of thermodynamic principles into the traditionally human realms of politics and anthropology is still a very new idea, and is fenced around with taboos over questions like free will and determinism.

I hope you find it useful.  If you wish to debate this topic or offer suggestions, you may email me at Paul.Chefurka@gmail.com

A few Wiki links:
A set of PDF files:
And a couple of books:

 Paul Chefurka
November 9, 2013

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part , in any manner and for any purpose whatsoever, with no restrictions.