Adrian Bejan was invited to a TEDx MidAthlantic to talk about his concept regarding the physics that rules nature and society. In numerous examples the speaker outlines the various effects explained with physics and its basic principles to be used in predicting the development of some points under scrutiny.
He starts with drawing the generalized picture that nature takes the easiest way to develop. Rivers flow not randomly as physics rules this process. Water and wind erosion is what constructed the Great Canyon with the flow of time.
Bejan mentions that this basic physical rule applied to different natural and social structures is called Constructional Law. The design is a set of patterns that repeat as they reside on the same core physical measures. The speaker exemplifies insects, birds, and aircrafts, that perform not equally but similarly, i.e. the design of their movements repeats. The Constructional Law takes into account their body mass and allows making conclusion that bigger objects tend to move faster and take longer distances. Flying, running, and swimming are activities where body mass makes a difference with certain implications such as bigger objects need to make fewer movements to move. He proceeds with a human example. Sprints and swimmers become winners when their body mass is bigger.
The next implication from his theory is that we evolve because we are pushed. This conclusion also comes from physics. Here the speaker shows the transportation map tracked with the help of thermodynamics. The planes move through the most used routes and leave the hottest track. This proves that moving is hierarchical; and the route is chosen because it is the easiest way of travelling. A similar example was used in early architecture. When the house was built, the locals had to walk on the ground leaving tracks. The most beaten tracks were later to become paved roads. The architects let the natural trajectory to show itself rather than forcing people to take the route that could be found uncomfortable.
Another interesting concept is wealth. Adrian Bejan states that wealth is not something intangible. It can be measured by the energy use. He makes it possible by means of physics. He shows several clouds that depict the dependence between fuel consumption and wealth of different nation. As the cloud shows, Switzerland has the highest GDP per capita as well as the highest energy consumption per capita. One of the lowest ranks was given to India. The other fuel-based analysis concerns the freedom to change.
In the conclusion, the author defines two types of countries free and rigid to change. In the perspective of those two types, the future belongs to those countries that open more channels. Countries may succeed with more liberated flows, e.g. education, technology, law, and government. Adrian Bejan highlights that physics can be applied not only directly in the primary area, but the concepts of design and with application of Constructional Law, we can build better societies. He puts it short, “It’s Physics, not opinion.”
The video provides interesting insights into the work of various systems. The application can be found in sciences, technology, and humanity sciences. The idea of universal patterns is overwhelming. It is rather surprising that people, rivers, and animals move in tune with natural design. Moreover, technological examples like electronics or tracks of planes contribute to the concept of constructional law. Two clouds of countries and their wealth calculated with their use of energy was interesting. However, if the speaker states that whole societies could be changed with the use of this law, sprinters and planes are very distant examples. It would be rather educating to see the real examples of application of this law to society through education, for example.