Douglas White

Douglas White nsIn hmolscience, Douglas R. White (1942-) is an American anthropologist noted, in sociological thermodynamics, for his 2000 thermodynamics based sociology course taught at the University of California, Irvine.

In 2000, White, at the University of California, Irvine, via his online article “Thermodynamic Principles for the Social Sciences: an Introduction”, was teaching an Arthur Iberall based sociology-anthropology course; the following being White’s general view: [1]

“Hierarchical systems are ubiquitous in nature and society. They require variably long time scales for the interactions among their diverse elements to unwind towards thermodynamic equilibrium. The unwinding of long-span (e.g. solar) systems fuels the wind-up of shorter-span (e.g. living) systems. Stacks of such complex systems comprise the universe—physical, biological, and social—as we know it.”

In addition, "life", according to White, "is a special case of self-organizing systems where it is thermodynamic stacking that is doing the organization.” In outlining human chemical bonding, White states: [2]

“If we consider atomism as a system that is difficult to break up, an experimental observation equally applicable to social groups and social bonds, there is energy in the bonding of atomic constitution, and when that bonding is broken that energy is released.”

In giving these statements, Whites references the 1977 thermodynamics of complex systems theories of American physicist-engineer Arthur Iberall and American nuclear physicist Harry Soodak. [3]

White is member of the Santa Fe Institute.

1. White, Douglas. (2000). “Thermodynamic Principles for the Social Sciences: an Introduction” (Ѻ), University of California, Irvine.
2. Anthro 179A: Social Dynamics an Self Organizing Systems, Winter 2000.
3. (a) Soodak, H. and Iberall, A. (1987). “Thermodynamics of Complex Systems” (ch. 24: pgs. 459-69) and “A Physics for Complex Systems” (ch. 27: pgs. 499-520) in: Self-Organizing Systems: the Emergence of Order. Plenum.
(b) Iberall, A. and Soodak, H. (1978). “Physics Basis for Complex Systems: Some Propositions Relating Levels of Organization”, Collective Phenomena, 3: 9-24.

External links
White, Douglas (1942-) – WorldCat Identities.
Douglas White (faculty) – University of California, Irvine.

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