Summary of Iberall's atomism theory.
In homeokinetics, atomism is abstract name for any atom-like particle in the universe. [1] A group of interacting atomisms in a system are said to constitute an ensemble.

In 1977, American physicist Arthur Iberall introduced the term as a tool to theorize, in a generalized manner, on any type of system in the universe, from small gas molecule systems to human systems, which are said to be comprised of “human atomisms”, to galactic systems, etc. [2]

In 1987, Iberall began the discussing the concept of people viewed as human atomisms: [3]

“The factory day is characteristic not only of living systems but also of all complex atomistic systems that persist and that express much of their action internally. For an individual human atomism the factory day largely, but not completely, coincides with the earth’s day.”

In his three-part article on field thermodynamics applied to biology, Iberall gives three related definitions, introducing them by stating that “the concept of a system as an ensemble of atomistic entities is so fundamental to physics that I define here three terms that support the topic:


AtomismA generalized atom or a bounded, material object (of whatever size) that is active, and involved in processes that keep it active. The processes here referred to being thermodynamic engine processes.

Active atomismBeing active is to have the property of possessing, or drawing upon an energy supply to do work. Active entities can exchange energy over time, and the term action refers to the integrated product of energy and time.

Human atomismA human being defined abstractly as a generalized atom.

EnsembleA set of essentially similar atomism, continually engaged in interactions (e.g. collisions).


See also
Human atom
Social atom


1. Soodak, H, Iberall A. (1978). “Homeokinetics: A Physical Science for Complex Systems” (abs), Science, 201(4356): 597-82.
2. Iberall, A. S. (1977). “A field and Circuit Thermodynamics for Integrative Physiology. I. Introduction to the General Notions.” American Journal of Physiology Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 233 : 171-180.
3. Iberall, Arthur S. (1995). “A Physical (Homeokinetic) Foundation for the Gibsonian Theory of Perception and Action”, Ecological Psychology, 791): 37-68.

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