Human molecule (Wikipedia)

EoHT Wiki: Practice page 4 - Encyclopedia of Humanthermodynamics
The "human element" Hu chemical symbol from the popular 2006-2009 Dow Chemical advertising campaign, with a mock atomic number and pseudo atomic mass of 7E+09 indicative of the current human population, often shown overlaid on photos of third world people, to signify that the human is the "missing element" of the periodic table.
Note: below text is a paste of an article banned (Ѻ)(Ѻ) twice [see: deletion log] from Wikipedia (2007; 2010);
Active article: Human molecule

Human molecule
is the term used to define or view a person as a molecule. [1] The term "human molecule" was coined in 1789 by French philosopher Jean Sales. [2] The construct of a person defined as a molecule, or type of chemical, has been utilized as a tool in both the hard sciences, namely chemistry, thermodynamics, and physics, and the humanities, namely sociology, economics, history, and philosophy, psychology, among other subjects, such as religion. The modern reserved-view of modeling a person as a "molecule", whether abstractly or factually, is explained well in the 2001-2004 lectures and follow-up Aventis Prize-winning book Critical Mass by English chemist and physicist Philip Ball: [3]

“To develop a 'physics of society', we must take a bold step that some might regard as a leap of faith and others as preposterous idealization: particles become people [and] human activity [becomes] collections of many interacting ‘agents’ — somewhat analogous to a fluid of interacting atoms or molecules.”

The subject of the concept of the person defined as an abstract 'molecule' or specifically a "human molecule", over the last two-centuries, has been a point of discussion by dozens of various scholars and thinkers, from French writer Alphonse Esquiros (1840), who argued that the occupation of the historian and psychologist is to study the transformations and psychology of individual human molecules or groups of human molecules; to American historian Henry Adams (1885) who defined "social chemistry" as the study of the attractions of human molecules; to French philosopher Pierre Teilhard (1936), who used the term in the big science, evolution of the universe view, such that over the course of billions of years, the simple "atom" became the "molecule" that became the "mega-molecule" that became the "human molecule" (each separated by "intermediate states" in the form of "molecular aggregates") and that the noosphere mind of the human molecule is heading towards an "omega point"; to English physicist C.G. Darwin (1952), who defined "human thermodynamics" as the statistical mechanics of human molecules; to American economist Robert Costanza (1999), who argued that "the welfare of human society is best served by the view of people as ‘human molecules’ who, by pursuing their own interests through the market, inevitably promote the general good.” The first calculation for the empirical formula for one human was done in 2000 by American limnologists Robert Sterner, at the University of Minnesota, and James Elser, at Arizona State University. [1]
Jean Sales

“We conclude that there exists a principle of the human body which comes from the great process in which so many millions of atoms of the earth become many millions of human molecules.”
- Jean Sales (1789)

Early history

The first to coin the term "human molecule" was French philosopher Jean Sales who, in his 1789 The Philosophy of Nature: Treatise on Human Moral Nature, concluded that people are molecules that have arisen over time through a "great process" from the atoms of the earth. [2] Sale's views, which he had begun to publish in 1770, at first passed unnoticed, began to attract objectionable attraction owing to its moral views considered contrary to religion, during which time he was condemned to perpetual banishment by the order of the Chatelet. To exemplify the density of mindset involved in Sales’ treatise, a work that was expanded into multiple volumes, in 1777 French philosopher Voltaire, said to have an IQ of 190, one of the fifteen highest in history (Cox, Early Mental Traits of 300 Geniuses, 1926), stood up in defense of Sales’ work and even went so far as to contributed 500 pounds towards his release from prison.

Others in the 19th-century to have used the term “human molecule” in argument or discussion include: French writer Alphonse Esquiros (1840), who argued that “unity can be held in effect by the assent of human molecules to carry all toward each other; the law of attraction is a law of love”; French composer Hector Berlioz (1854), who compared the visual sight of a children's choir to that of a "crystal of human molecules"; American sociologist Henry Carey (1858), who defined man as the “molecule of society” and specifically stated that this particular molecule is “the subject of social science”; French historian Hippolyte Taine (1869), who reasoned that objective of the historian is to "write the psychology of the human molecule, or a particular group of human molecules, in their various transformations". Other late 19th century thinkers to have discussed the concept of the human molecule include: German physician and diplomat Ernst Gryzanowski (1875), American historian Henry Adams (1885), German-British philosopher Ferdinand Schiller (1891), French education reformer Max Leclerc (1894), and French-Italian mathematical engineer Vilfredo Pareto (1896), as discussed further below.

In the last two centuries, there have been about a dozen or so books written on the subject of a person viewed as a chemical, molecule, or atomic-like particle, from German polymath Johann Goethe’s 1809 Elective Affinities to American writer John Hodgson's 2010 molecules humans:

We Human Chemicals (1948) (s)Critical Mass (2004)molecules humans (2010)
1948 book We Human chemicals, by Americans Thomas Dreier and chemist Gustavus Esselen, showing a depiction of humans on a mock periodic table, in which each person is considered as reactive "human chemical". [99] 2004 book Critical Mass, by English chemist and physicist Philip Ball, outlining a view that people should be thought of as atoms or molecules, and that physics concepts, such as critical mass, apply. [3]
2010 book molecules humans, by American writer John Hodgson’s, a modern-day remake of Empedocles’ 450BC chemistry aphorisms, with ninety-eight different idioms on how the two, i.e. humans and molecules, are alike.

Other books of note include: English-born American chemical engineer William Fairburn’s 1914 Human Chemistry, Americans editor Thomas Dreier and chemist Gustavus Esselen’s 1948 We Human chemicals, American spiritual teacher Joseph Dewey’s 1999 The Molecular Relationship, American writer John Hodgson’s 2002 Little Fun Book of Molecules Humans (retitled as Molecules Humans, 2010 edition), English chemical physicist Philip Ball’s 2003 Critical Mass: How one Thing Leads to Another, American physicist Mark Buchanan’s 2007 The Social Atom, among others.

This listing does not include various other books with specific chapters on the human molecule concept, such as English physicist C.G. Darwin's sixteen-page Introduction chapter in his 1952 The Next Million years, or books themed in overall loose structure on the human molecule concept, such as American sociologist Henry Carey's 1858 Principles of Social Science, French philosopher Hippolyte Taine 1869 On Intelligence, or French philosopher Pierre Teilhard's 1938 The Phenomenon of Man, among numerous others; as well as those books containing multiple chapters on human molecules, such as American philosopher Alan Nelson's 1992 three-chapter series "Human Molecules", wherein 'economic agents' are viewed as human molecules.

The originator of the modeling of humans are large types of chemicals was Greek philosopher Empedocles who in 450BC conceived the view that people are four-element chemicals and therefore separate and or mix, under the control of two forces, namely philia (a type of attractive force) and neikos (a type of repulsive force), just as do oil and water or water and wine when put into contact: “relatives mix like water and wine; enemies avoid each other like water and oil.” [4] Empedocles’ theory of elements, chemicals, and people mixing and or separating according to a pair of dualistic forces was the forerunner to the “doctrine of affinity”, i.e. the various twelve laws of affinity, and eventual science of affinity chemistry, which, according to American chemistry historian Henry Leicester, would become “so important in chemistry.” [5]

Elective Affinities (H.M. Waidson translation)
German polymath Johann Goethe's 1809 Elective Affinities, the first book, since Greek philosopher Empedocles’ 450BC chemistry aphorisms of how “people who love each other mix like water and wine; people who hate each other segregate like water and oil”, to model human relationships as chemical reactions or chemical processes. [6]
Chemistry | Elective Affinities
One of the most-elaborate expositions on chemical-reduction view of humanity is found in the 1809 work of German polymath Johann Goethe, the person who, according to the 1926 research of American psychologists (Catherine Cox, Early Mental Traits of 300 Geniuses, and her advisor Lewis Terman, inventor of the modern IQ scale, is said to have been the smartest person (IQ=210) to have ever lived, prior to the year 1850. Goethe had studied chemistry and performed chemical experiments for over four decades prior to writing his theory. Goethe began discussing his theory with colleagues in 1808 and published the final version in two eighteen chapter parts in the 1809 scientific novella Elective Affinities (Die Wahlverwandtschaften), wherein each of the thirty-six chapters is modeled on a different type of chemical reaction. [6] As summarized, in 1899, by German biologist Ernst Haeckel: [7]

“Goethe, in his classical romance, Affinities, compares the relations of pairs of loves with the phenomenon of the same name in the formation of chemical combinations. The irresistible passion that draws Edward to the sympathetic Ottilie, or Paris to Helen, and leaps over all bounds of reason and morality, is the same powerful unconscious attractive force which impels the living spermatozoon to force an entrance into the ovum in the fertilization of the egg of the animal or plant—the same impetuous movement which unities the two atoms of the hydrogen H \,to one atom of the oxygen O \,for the formation of the a molecule of water H_2 O \,. This fundamental unity of affinity in the whole of nature was recognized by the great Greek scientist Empedocles in the fifth century BC in his theory of the love and hatred of the elements.”

The core chapter, chapter four, of Goethe's novella, wherein the characters openly discuss what it means to be a chemical in the context of their own relationships and marriages, is summarized, as follows, from American affinity chemistry historian Mi Gyung Kim's 2003 Affinity, That Elusive Dream, where each letter is a person, as such: [8]

“I can put my meaning together with letters. Suppose an A connected so closely with B that all sorts of means, even violence, have been made use to separate them, without effect. Then suppose a C in exactly the same position with respect to D. Bring the two pairs into contact; A will fling himself on D, C on B, without it being possible to say which had first left its first connection, or made the first move toward the second.” Goethe gives tribute to Empedocles oil-and-water theory, in the following passage, as found in his chapter four: "Let me try and see," said Charlotte," whether I can understand where you are bringing me. As everything has a reference to itself, so it must have some relation to others." " And that," interrupted Edward, " will be different according to the natural differences of the things themselves. Sometimes they will meet like friends and old acquaintances; they will come rapidly together, and unite without either having to alter itself at all—as wine mixes with water. Others, again, will remain as strangers side by side, and no amount of mechanical mixing or forcing will succeed in combining them. Oil and water may be shaken up together, and the next moment they are separate again, each by itself."

In Goethe's view, which is written in, in his words, as "multiple layers of Gestalt", then, as described in his previous 1786 evolution-morphology work (a forerunner to Darwin's evolution theory), humans are to be considered as large evolved or rather "metamorphosized" versions of the smaller reactive chemical substances. On this premise, Goethe used Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman's 1775 chemistry textbook A Dissertation on Elective Attractions to write out his novella, in which each chapter is a different human elective affinity reaction (human chemical reaction) occurring between the various characters. An example of a Bergman-style "single elective affinity" reaction is:

Single elective affinity.png

This reaction diagram notation, origin developed in 1756 by Scottish chemist William Cullen, is what in modern terms would be called a single displacement reaction:

 AB + C \rightarrow AC + B \,

Hence, according to Goethe, these "moral symbols" as he called them, operate such that in the process in which two people, A and B, in the state of a dulling marriage union, AB (Bergman's notation), can be made to break apart by the introduction of a third single unattached human C, brought into the picture, is exactly same process, according to Goethe, as implicitly discussed in his famous chapter four, by which calcium carbonate  CaCO_3 \, can be broken up into its constituent parts,  Ca \, and  CO_3 \, , by contact with sulfuric acid  H_2SO_4 \, to form gypsum  CaSO_4 \cdot 2H_2O \, and the release of carbon dioxide  CO_2 \, gas, the gas being representative of the displaced marriage partner, gypsum representative of the newly formed couple. In the novella, this is explained, during a discussion between the the married characters Charlotte (A) and Eduard (B) and their newly invited friend the Captain (C), in which the characters use Bergman's letter notation to discuss their own fates as chemical reactants as described the doctrine of the science of affinity chemistry (a forerunner to chemical thermodynamics):

 CaCO_3 \,  + \,  H_2SO_4 \,  \rightarrow \,  CaSO_4 \cdot 2H_2O \,  + \,  CO_2 \,
calcium carbonate (s)
sulfuric acid (aq)
gypsum (s)
carbon dioxide (g)

In commentary on this human chemical reaction, the character Charlotte comments "I would never see a choice here but rather a natural necessity and indeed hardly that; for in the last resort it is perhaps only a matter of opportunity. Opportunity makes relationships just as much as it makes thieves; and where your natural substances are concerned, the choice seems to me to lie entirely in the hands of the chemist who brings these substances together … I can only feel sorry for the poor gaseous acid, which has to go off and drift around again in the void." Eduard interposes, "unless I am mistaken," said with a smile, "your remarks carry a double meaning, I am in your eyes the lime which the Captain, as sulfuric acid, has seized on, withdrawn from your charming company, and transformed into a stubborn gypsum." Goethe goes on to step through more of these types of philosophical arguments in the novella, using different types of reactions, e.g. the process of removing verdigris from pots, as models for human reactions. [9]

This publication has since been a constant source of debate, with new opinions, either for or against, being published every decade. [10] To cite one example, the year after its publication, Goethe’s neighbor, German poet and writer Christoph Wieland objected on the anti-Christianity of the novella, and commented in letter to German archeologist Karl Böttiger, which he said should be burned after reading, that Goethe’s modeling of humans as chemicals is "nonsense and childish fooling around". [11]

Chemistry | Adler's 1977 human chemical reactions
Many scholars, thinking along the lines of Goethe that people are reactive chemicals, have since attempted to speculate on which chemists Goethe cited and which particular chemical reactions he used for each chapter, as Goethe, contrary to his usually practice destroyed all of his manuscript notes, and specifically stated that he wrapped the novella in multiple layers of Gestalt.

The first to attempt chemical equation reconstruction of Goethe's Elective Affinities was English science historian and German studies professor Jeremy Adler who in 1977, at the University of London, completed his PhD in this subject, with a dissertation entitled Goethe’s Elective Affinity and the Chemistry of its Time, under the supervision of German professor of Goethean studies Claus Bock. In his dissertation, and followup articles and chapters published in the decades to follow, in German and English, Adler cogently identified about two-dozen potential chemists, such as Isaac Newton (Query 31: Opticks, 1718), Étienne François Geoffroy (Table of Affinities, 1718), Pierre Macquer (Elements of Theoretical Chemistry, 1749; the first textbook on affinity chemistry), 1749), Torbern Bergman (A Dissertation on Elective Attractions, 1775), and Claude Berthollet (theory of "double affinity", c.1800), Johann Trommsdorff (Systematic Handbook of the Whole of Chemistry, 1805), among others, and about a dozen chemical reactions, such as:

  • Single elective affinity ( AB + C \rightarrow BC + A \, )
  • Double elective affinity ( AB + CD \rightarrow BC + AD \, )
  • Split affinities ( AC + B \rightarrow A1B + A2C \, )
among others, that Goethe likely used as models for each chapter. Adler spent years in various history of chemistry departments doing research for his dissertation. American chemistry historian John McEvoy (later at the University of Pittsburgh) and his supervisor, Satish Kapoor (Sussex University), gave Adler assistance with the background to the history of chemistry. Satish was working on French chemist Claude Berthollet at the time, and suggested to Adler that he switch to the history of chemistry; and so Adler joined the outfit of historians of science in England that ranged from the old masters, such as Joseph Needham and Walter Pagel, to his colleagues, like Cambridge science historian Roy Porter, Nick Jardine and others, interested in linking literature and science. Adler also had good contact with A.M. Duncan, who was working on the history of affinity theory. Duncan, of note, was the 1969 English translator of Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman's A Dissertation on Elective Attractions, the largest textbook ever written on affinity chemistry and also the main book used by Goethe in constructing his Elective Affinities, as he himself has admitted: "my idea for my new novella is to portray relationships symbolically, and the moral symbols are those employed by the great Bergman" (Goethe, 1808).

To go through one example, Adler argues that Goethe, being a voracious reader, writer (his collected works being a 52-volume set), and chemist would have read German chemist Johann Trommsdorff 1805 Systematic Handbook of the Whole of Chemistry, wherein the following combination type of affinity reaction was discussed (in relation to Berthollet's theory of affinities):

 AB + CD \rightarrow ABCD \,

and that this reaction, would have translated, in Goethe's mind, as the reunite of the four friends, and that the variations of the following division reaction and double elective affinity would correspond, in Goethe's mind, as the divide and regrouping of the four friends, in the various chapters:

 ABCD \rightarrow AB + CD \,
 AB + CD \rightarrow AC + BD \,

Adler's work on affinity chemistry was influential to the effect that Needham, for instance, began referencing Adler’s worak in Science and Civilization in China, in his chapter concerning Chinese affinity theory. With this basis of support, research, and study of the analysis of the vocabulary in Goethe's book, Adler became convinced that the use of affinity theory to explain human interactions and life was a thorough-going theme in Goethe's mind. In the 1980s and 1990s, Adler followed this up with book chapters such as the 1990 “Goethe’s use of chemical theory in his Elective Affinities” among other articles and publications. [12]

Chemistry | Molecular sociology
In 1995, French chemist and Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie Lehn made reference to Goethe’s human elective affinities theory as being a type of “molecular sociology” and a cousin-science analog to supramolecular chemistry: [13]

“Supramolecular chemistry is a sort of molecular sociology! Non-covalent interactions define the inter-component bond, the action and reaction, in brief, the behavior of the molecular individuals and populations: their social structure as an ensemble of individuals having its own organization; their stability and their fragility; their tendency to associate or to isolate themselves; their selectivity, their ‘elective affinities’ and class structure, their ability to recognize each other; their dynamics, fluidity or rigidity or arrangements and of castes, tensions, motions, and reorientations; their mutual action and their transformation by each other.”

A similar comparison was made by Belgian chemist and Nobel Laureate Ilya Prigogine, in his 1984 Order Out of Chaos, who mentions Goethe’s “Mittler the mediator” as being a type of human catalyst, bring about successful reactions between people, without being consumed in the process. The concept of molecular sociology, with the introduction of the chemical thermodynamics work of Willard Gibbs (1876) and Hermann Helmholtz (1882), after which the measurement of affinity became a function of enthalpy change and entropy change, however, would move the subject of molecular sociology into the field of thermodynamics (as discussed below).
EoHT Wiki: Practice page 4 - Encyclopedia of Humanthermodynamics
The 2001 table 'Signs of Chemical Affinity' from American Goethean-studies professor Karl Fink's article "Geothe's Intensified Boarder", wherein ten different human chemical reactions, from German polymath Johann Goethe's 1809 Elective Affinities, are discussed, using reactant-product symbol notation, reaction arrow "chemical equation" methodology, e.g.  A + B \rightarrow AB \, (combination reaction), is used to explain human relationships as chemical reactions. [18]

Chemistry | Fink's 1999 human chemical reactions
A recent Goethe-based example viewing people as chemicals is found in the work American Germanic studies professor Karl Fink who, in his 2001 article “Goethe’s Intensified Border”, argues, differing from Adler a bit, that the chemistry theory used by Goethe was the affinities associated with acid base chemistry, or as he says "the symbols Goethe used came from the notions of acids and bases with affinities for each other, including, for example, limestone and sulfuric acid which forms gypsum and gives off a thin gaseous acid." [14]

This acid base postulate, however, is a bit pre-dated, for although Bergman, in his Dissertation on Elective Attractions, the main textbook used by Goethe to model human relationships, does discuss an acid and base chemistry view of reactions, e.g. how the a acid and base can react to form a salt, a union which can be modified by stronger acids, and so on, affinity chemist, in the 18th century, was not particularly focused on any dominate acid-base theory, but rather the rather the focus was on how to explain and quantify the affinity, the "force of reaction" any and all types of reactions. The earliest basic definitions of acids was advanced in 1887 by Swedish physicist and chemist Svante Arrhenius, who stated that acid ionizes in aqueous solution to produce hydrogen ions (protons), H + , and anions; and a base ionizes in aqueous solution to produce hydroxide ions (OH − ) and cations. This was followed by the 1923 work of Johannes Brønsted, a Danish chemist, and Thomas Lowry, an English chemist, independently proposed a new way to define acids and bases. A similar acid-base theory was proposed by American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis during these years. In any event, Fink summarizes:

“The symbols that Goethe used for his chemical reaction were acids and bases with an affinity for one another, the former a proton donor and the latter a proton acceptor. When the two react and for a covalent bond, a gaseous substance is given off, free to bond with another substance. By assigning the four main characters with these symbols in this environment, Goethe organizes the entire plot of the novel around reactions that can be translated into algorithms of human behavior.”

Fink defined the marriage between Charlotte A and Eduard B as a combination reaction:

 A + B \rightarrow AB \,

This is the start of the novella. Fink thus argues that the bond of marriage, AB, as Goethe conceived it, is a type of human covalent bond. With the arrival of the Captain C, Eduard's old friend, to the estate, Fink describes reaction as:

 AB + C \rightarrow A + BC \,

The third reaction in the novella, according to Fink, is that wherein Charlotte brings her adopted niece Ottilie D home to the estate from her extended stay at a boarding school:

 A + BC + D \rightarrow AD + BC \,

Of the ten reactions that Fink steps through in his article, of note, Fink postulates, differing for Adler, that the child born in the novella is a chemical precipitate. He postulates that the illicit child, created out of the interactions of the four friends, would follow a double elective affinity reaction of the following kind:

 AC + BD \rightarrow AC + BD + P \,

where the molecular entities are Charlotte (A), Eduard (B), Captain (C), and Ottilie (D), is a chemical “precipitate” (P) or PPT, as Fink symbolizes it.

Chemistry | Huxley's 1871 social chemistry
In 1871, English biologist Thomas Huxley defined “social chemistry” as the study of society viewed such that men are atoms, that society is a complex molecule, which he called a “social molecule”, and that the politics of the balancing of the desires of humankind is the great problem of social chemistry: [15]

“Every society, great or small, resembles a complex molecule, in which the atoms are represented by men, possessed of all those multifarious attractions and repulsions which are manifested in their desires and volitions, the unlimited power of satisfying which we call freedom ... the social molecule exists in virtue of the renunciation of more or less of this freedom by every individual. It is decomposed, when the attraction of desire leads to the resumption of that freedom the expression of which is essential to the existence of the social molecule. The great problem of social chemistry we call politics, is to discover what desires of mankind may be gratified, and what must be suppressed, if the highly complex compound, society, is to avoid decomposition.”

Huxley's definition of social chemistry has since been frequently quoted. In 1962, in commentary on Huxley’s call for a science of social chemistry, viewing men as atoms of the larger social molecule, Austrian social economist Werner Stark asked: [16]

“Why should no social chemistry ever been developed? Nobody would suggest that the social scientists should imitate meteorology, for this discipline does not appear to have got very far … but what about chemistry?” He states “a sociology based on chemistry [has] in fact been called for, but, significantly, [this call has] found no echo. It would have been easy to take up this suggestion and develop it further. An intending social chemist would have found it one whit more difficult to manufacture a sociological parallel to the Boyle-Charles law than Haret did to the Newtonian propositions. But the experiment appears never to have been tried.”

Stark's view exemplifies the general public view of the subject of human or social chemistry of the study of the behaviors of "human molecules" (a term Stark used that year in objection to the 1858 social chemistry work of American social-economist Henry Carey), but his view that the "experiment has never been tried" is inaccurate, in that the experiment has been tried and test by many people, as discussed below.

EoHT Wiki: Practice page 4 - Encyclopedia of Humanthermodynamics
American scientist and historian Henry Adams explaining in an 1885 letter to his wife that his daily study is the science of the mutual attractions of human molecules, a term he had learned from Hippolyte Taine in 1872, defining this subject as "social chemistry". [21] Adams would spend another thirty years developing scientific theory as to how chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics would apply to the explanation of human existence, particularly as viewed in long spans of history and future, publishing three books on this topic; his 1910 A Letter to American Teachers of History, in particular, speculating on how large numbers of human molecules, in newly forming cities, could contract, creating energy, according to the nebular hypothesis, in opposition to entropy.

Chemistry |
Adam's 1885 social chemistry

In 1885, American historian Henry Adams specifically defined "social chemistry" as the study of the attraction of equivalent "human molecules".[21] Adams, who had been ruminating on the human molecule concept ever since becoming acquainted with in 1872, through the work of French philosopher Hippolyte Taine, would go on to write two books, in the late 1910s, on how chemistry and thermodynamics apply to the historical and societal aspects of human molecules (see thermodynamics section).

Chemistry | Dreier's 1910 human chemicals
The first actual article/booklet outlining the basics of the subject of human chemistry was the 1910, 27-page “Human Chemicals” by American editor Thomas Dreier who introduced the viewpoint that, in reality, each person is a “human chemical”, made from a certain number of the then known 78-elements, and that if people began to embrace this chemical-based philosophy, that people might be able to begin getting along better with one another. [17] Dreier, prior to this publication was a business manager of a larger publishing company, and thus turned to chemistry to develop a philosophy of how to become the “executive chemist” in his own words, so as to facilitate the reactions between his employees, based on established scientific sense. This article became very popular so much so that Dreier would spend the next forty years writing on this subject, publications including the 1948 book We Human Chemicals, co-written with Harvard chemist Gustavus Esselen, the 1954 book The Executive as a Human Chemist, which resulted in response articles, such as “Do People ‘Explode’ in Your Office”. [18] To quote a representative excerpt from his 1948 book: [19]

“Watch groups of people working or playing together and you will be startled to discover how ‘chemical’ are their reactions to one another. Once you acquire even rudiments of human chemistry, you will be baffled less often by people, and become impatient or angry less often at the (to you) annoying things they do. You will see and judge them for what they are—different kinds of human chemicals, obeying the laws of their natures as you and I obey the laws of our natures.”

Chemistry | Fairburn's 1914 human chemicals
The second book on the subject of human chemistry, following Dreier, was the 1914 book Human Chemistry, by English-born American chemical engineer William Fairburn in which, like Dreier, he specifically defines people as “chemical elements”, or sometimes “human chemical elements”, each human chemical comprised of a certain number of the 81-then-known-elements, and that human chemistry is the study of “the reactions resulting from combinations of individuals” to be pursued by the manager or foreman; Fairburn employs concepts such as affinity, heat, energy, entropy, combustion, efficiency, emulsification, force, etc., to outline his subject . [20]

Fairburn, to note was a bit religious at this point, commenting that: “the Creator in his infinite wisdom made no bad or unnecessary chemical elements, neither can any man be considered hopelessly bad or useless if he is put in his proper place and is handled wisely and intelligently by the human chemist.” This, however, is the only religious reference to this book. In his 1915 book The Individual and Society, Fairburn comments: “Man is not merely a ‘cunning bit of chemistry - a product of so much oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon’, a carnal corporeity. He is not swayed and ruled by what assails him from without, but he stands forth a living, spiritual thing, with ideals and purpose capable of triumphing over sensuous nature and materialism.” Later in the same book, conversely, Fairburn restates his view of what a human is in modern scientific terms: [21]

“Men are like chemicals and possess pronounced personality which can be analogously expressed in the scientific terms of affinity -; that quality of attraction which takes place between and tends to unite elements into effective compounds; and of valency - that measure of relative combining power.”

This quote by Fairburn exemplifies a very larger intellectual dividing wall in the mindset of thinkers who would wish to employ human chemistry logic in that after 1923, with the publication of Gilbert Lewis’s textbook Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances, after which the term “affinity” became replaced with the term “free energy” and 1925, with the publication of the Schrodinger equation, after which valency chemistry became replaced with molecular orbital theory, the person inquisitive of how to formulate a subject of human chemistry, in which people are viewed as chemicals or molecules, would be forced to master both chemical thermodynamics and quantum chemistry, along with the humanities in general, before even being allowed to gain insight in to the subject in the way that thinkers such as Goethe, Carey, Dreier, or Fairburn did, prior to the 1920s.

Chemistry | Sterner and Elser's 2000 human molecular formula
The first to explicitly state that a human has a “chemical formula” was American physician George Carey who, in his 1919 The Chemistry of Human Life, stated that “man’s body is a chemical formula in operation.” [22] The first calculation for the empirical formula for one human being was done in 2000 by American limnologists Robert Sterner, at the University of Minnesota, and James Elser, at Arizona State University, noted experts in the field of ecological stoichiometry the subject of the application of chemical stoichiometry to freshwater microorganisms. The "stoichiometric approach", according to Sterner and Elser, "considers whole organisms as if they were single abstract molecules" and studies topics such as how "Redfield ratios', i.e. organismal C:N:P ratios, differ among closely related populations. This type of mindset, i.e. viewing biological entities, such as microorganisms or humans, to be "abstract molecules" that must obey stoichiometric rules of chemistry, led them to the calculation of the empirical formula for one human, shown below, as published in their popular 2002 textbook Ecological Stoichiometry: [1]

Empirical formula (for one person)
Chemical name
H_{375,000,000} O_{132,000,000} C_{85,700,000} N_{6,430,000} Ca_{1,500,000} P_{1,020,000} S_{206,000} Na_{183,000} \,
K_{177,000} C_{l27,000} Mg_{40,000} Si_{38,600} Fe_{2,680} Zn_{2,110} Cu_{76} I_{14} Mn_{13} F_{13} Cr_7 Se_4 Mo_3 Co_1 \,
Human moleculeRobert Sterner
James Elser

Sterner and Elser go on to state about this formula for one human that “from information on quantities of individual elements, we can calculate the stoichiometric formula for a living human being (as shown above).” To but this formula into perspective, they state that “there are about 375 million hydrogen H atoms for every one cobalt Co atom in your body.” To state the meaning of this formula explicitly, they state: "This formula combines all compounds in a human being into a single abstract 'molecule'." They specifically assign the chemical name "human molecule" to this formula. In technical terms, this amounts to defining a person, chemically, as a 22-element molecule. In criticism of this view-point, as they discuss in their book, they sometimes here criticism that they are "treating organisms as if they were 'just' chemical reactions" to which their response is: "What do you mean by 'just'? Organisms are chemical entities and are produced, maintained, and propagated by chemical reactions, albeit in the form of highly complex coupled networks, which are the product of evolution." Other similar calculations, independent of Sterner and Elser, have since been done, for both the empirical formula and molecular formula for one human, arriving at a 26-element formula for one human molecule, differing from the Sterner-Elser calculation by the inclusion of the biologically functioning elements: vanadium V, nickel Ni, selenium Se, and boron B.

The construct of viewing people as "chemicals" or "molecules" has been used in various ways throughout history, from analogy, i.e. there exists an analogy between humans and molecules, comparison, e.g. the behavior of humans can be compared to molecules, metaphor, i.e. the view of humans as molecules is only metaphorical, or reality, i.e. humans are molecules.

Models | Like vs Are
The main categories of viewpoint outlined below, chronologically:

People are like chemicals or molecules Empedocles: "People who love each other mix like water and wine; people who hate each other segregate like water and oil." (450BC)
People are chemicals or molecules Goethe: "I am lime, the Captain is Sulphuric acid; the moral symbols are the elective affinities." (1809)
People are analogous to molecules Darwin: "I compare human beings to molecules; the reader may feel that this is a bad analogy, because unlike a molecule, a man has free will, which makes his actions unpredictable." (1952)
People behave like moleculesRoy Henderson: "the movement of individuals can be likened to the random movement of molecules in a gas." (1970)
People are multi-element molecules Sterner and Elser: "A human being is a human molecule, with a 22-element molecular formula that interacts with other human molecules in a way that resembles a complex, composite, chemical reaction." (2002)

The latter three variations of interpretation, tend to comprise actual postulates, theory, equations, and measurement, experimentation, and in some cases business application. A noted example is the 1971 work of Australian engineer Roy Henderson who reasoned that the kinetic theory, developed by James Maxwell and Ludwig Boltzmann in the 1860s, of how the speeds of gas molecules distribute themselves in a group must apply to the movements of people in crowds. To test this hypothesis, Henderson measured the movements of college students on a campus and children on a playground, finding that in both cases their movements fit the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution. [23] On the basis of this finding, Henderson developed concepts, such as how as the crowds, at certain a density, can become a “liquid phase”, how men and women cannot be considered as “identical particles”, the kinetic energy of each human molecule varies with age (childhood vs college age), and so on. This came to be defined, in 1971, as “molecular sociology” by New Scientist magazine. [24] In 2010, Physics World described Henson’s findings: “at low densities, organisms in a crowd behave more or less like atoms or molecules in an ideal gas”. [25]

William Ramsay
William Ramsay (1852-1916) Scottish physical chemistry founder noted for his 1898 kinetic theory football-players-as-human- molecules analogy.
EoHT Wiki: Practice page 4 - Encyclopedia of Humanthermodynamics

Shown adjacent, is the noted 1898 example of people, specifically football players, modeled as human molecules by Scottish physical chemist William Ramsay. [26] Ramsay used the human molecule construct to help explain physics concepts, such as kinetic theory.

Australian-born English chemist and physicist Len Fisher (2009) says that people can being "likened" to molecules, experiencing attraction and repulsion forces; and thus one may use physics models, such as the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution to explain crowd behaviors.

American limnologist Robert Sterner and James Esler (2002), view people not like molecules but as "single abstract molecules"; which is similar to German polymath Johann Goethe (1809) who views people as reactive chemical substances, that form and break chemical bonds, in the course of relationships, owing to the force of chemical affinity, a theory he uses to cogently explain topics such as morality, love, occupation, and death. [27]

Models | Applications
An example of application, is found in the 2004 book The Entropy Vector: Connecting Science and Business by English business manager Robert Handscombe and mechanical engineer Eann Patterson, in which they use human molecule modeling concepts to argue that the basic principles of thermodynamics can be used to facilitate business operations. To cite one example: [28]

“In the physical process of burning oil, we can measure the heat output and temperature changes, even estimate the change in entropy, but as far as we know, the individual atoms and molecules in the barrel of oil are unconcerned. They show no signs of anxiety – their only interest, or so it seems, is in the thermodynamics imperative of finding the lowest exergy position. If we can assume that humans behavior similarly, then a drive to higher entropy, in an economic process, will have a concurrent higher ‘enjoyment of life’ factor.”

The recent 2009 launch of the Spanish business consulting company,, headed by Spanish physicist Alberto Hernando and business entrepreneur Gregory Botanes, is an example of theoretical implementation, wherein the business operations in society are consulted using a “thermodynamic formulation” model on the basis of which there is posited to exist for business systems “clear analogy between the system’s thermal properties and those of gas and fluids.” Beyond these basic classification, there is what one might call the "hard" and "soft" version of viewing people as molecules, as loosely touched on by English physicist C.G. Darwin (above): the soft version being that some may conceive his or herself as a type of larger molecule, but with reservation, e.g. that a human his a special type of molecule, with volition, a soul, consciousness, choice, that a marriage of true love can last forever, a molecule in possession of "life", among others; the hard version being that a human is large animated molecule that must abide by the exact same laws of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics, as do smaller reactive molecules.
Leon Walras (s)
In the 1880s, French economist Leon Walras defined people as "economic molecules", a near-synonym of human molecule; his students, likewise, used synonyms: Vilfredo Pareto defined people as a "kind of molecule" (1896); and Leon Winiarski defined a society as a "system of points" (1900) [29]

Models | Synonyms and derivatives
Throughout history there have been various "terms" used to defined people "chemically" in the sense that people are types of chemicals or atomic entities that behave just as do smaller chemicals. What American historian Henry Adams (1885) calls "human molecules" reacting together, is the same as what English-born American engineer William Fairburn (1914) calls "human chemical elements" or what American editor Thomas Dreier (1948) calls "human chemicals" or what Indian chemist Surya Pati (2009) calls "chemical molecules" and so on. These terms have changed as science has changed.

To go through one example, in circa 450BC Greek philosopher Empedocles originated the prototype of the "standard model" of physics, by defining all structures of the universe, humans included, to be comprised of four element, whereby humans are chemical 'entities' made of four elements: fire (θ∆ics - Encyclopedia of Humanthermodynamics), earth (θ∆ics - Encyclopedia of Humanthermodynamics), air (θ∆ics - Encyclopedia of Humanthermodynamics), water (θ∆ics - Encyclopedia of Humanthermodynamics), whose 'interactions' are governed by two forces: philia (●→|←●), i.e. attraction (or love) and neikos (←●|●→), i.e. repulsion (or hate). Humans, according to Empedocles, were structures composed of these four elements governed by these two forces. He famous stated various chemistry aphorisms as to how this theory mediates out for human behavior: "relatives mix like water and wine; enemies avoid each other like water and oil.” The science of chemistry, in these days, was not barely even considered alchemy.

The next thinker to use this type of logic was German polymath Johann Goethe who in 1808, after studying the science of chemistry for a period of forty years, used Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman’s 1775 textbook A Dissertation on Elective Attractions to explain human relations as being chemical reactions or rather "affinity" reactions as the subject was called then. In Bergman's language chemical entities were called chemical "substances". In Bergman's own words: "Suppose A to be a substance for which other heterogeneous substances a, b, c, etc., have an attraction; suppose, further, A, combined with c to saturation (this union I shall call Ac), should, upon the addition of b, tend to unite with it to the exclusion of c, A is then said to attract b more strongly than c, or to have a stronger elective attraction for it." This statement is what is called Geoffroy's first law of affinity, as established by French chemist Étienne Geoffroy in 1718. Goethe, in turn, considered people to be larger versions of these chemical substances, that must obey the same chemical reaction laws, and specifically used this "Bergman letter notation" (A, a, b, AC, etc.) to explain, in his novella, how human relationships break and form. [9] To exemplify how this language gets carried over, in the 2000s, German physicist Jurgen Mimkes has been teaching this subject at University of Paderborn, publishing articles such as “Society as a Many Particle System” (2000), chapters such as "A Thermodynamics Formulation of Social Science" (2008), and books such as The Chemistry of the Social Bond (2011), where in he defines people in various ways: "particles", "atoms", "atomizations", "molecules", "agents", etc., and specifically cites Empedocles and Goethe as being the historical pioneers to the subject of viewing people as chemicals or physics-like particles. [30]

Variations or near-synonyms of the term "human molecule" include: point atom (Humphry Davy, 1813), atomic society and social molecule (Thomas Huxley, 1871), economic molecule (Léon Walras, c.1880), human atom (Albion Small, 1899), human chemical (Thomas Dreier, 1910), human chemical element (William Fairburn, 1914), Mr. Molecule (William Patton, 1919), "chemical formula in operation" (George Carey, 1919), human element (Pierre Teilhard, 1947), social atomism (Philip Rieff, c.1960), dissipative structure (Ilya Prigogine, 1971), Molecule Man (Jonathan Borofsky, 1977), human atomism (Arthur Iberall, 1987), human particle (Joel de Rosnay, 1975), molar group (Pierre Levy, 1994), mereological atoms (Eric Olson, 1998), free electron (Tom DeMarco, 1999), molecular relationship (Joseph Dewey, 1999), gay molecule  Y_2 \,, the lesbian molecule  X_2 \,, or middle-Eastern polygamous molecule  X_4 Y \, (Christopher Hirata, c.2000), child "precipitate" PPT (Karl Fink, 2001), couple "compound"  M \text{-} F \, (David Hwang, 2001), family molecule (Paul Peachey, 2001), giant molecule (Jim Eadon, 2001), "well-formed molecule" (Farrelly brothers, 2001), "highly evolved, overgrown super-molecules" (Peter Pogany, 2006), "The Human Element" (John Claxton/Dow Chemical, 2006), social atom (Mark Buchanan, 2007), "bag of chemicals" (Michael Brooks, 2009), chemical molecules (Surya Pati, 2009), entromorphic atom or Mr. Carbon Atom (Mark Janes, 2009), corporate molecule (Vineet Nayar, 2010), etc., among others; each of which are derivative terms discussing different aspects of the same overall subject.

The chemically correct modern name, however, for each of these various terms is "human molecule" as defined by American ecological stoichiometrists Robert Sterner and James Elser who in 2000 made the first calculated molecular formula for one human and specifically named it a "human molecule". The other various derivative terms above, to note, each has an extended description associated with that unique meaning. What Huxley's 1871 term "social molecule", for example, means is that he is thinking of each person as an individual "atom" and the the society of such associated atoms to be a large "molecule". The same is the case with Levy's 1994 "molar group" or Nayar's 2010 description of the "corporate molecule", where he specifically defines a company as being composed of "human particles". Other terms become more technically-involved: Fink's 2001 term precipitate is referring to the idea that a child represents a division of one original molecule into two new molecules or a solid formed out of surrounding reactive liquid chemical body, the parents in this case. Hirata's term "lesbian molecule" refers to a bonded relationship between two female human molecules X and X to form a new molecule  X_2 \,. One distinction, to note, often used in physics modeling studies, is that wherein a person is modeled as an abstract material point; terms such as human atom, point atom, human particle, etc., which generally mean that he author is employing gas-phase models and correlative gas-phase equations.

Henry Buckle
Henry Buckle's 1857 History of Civilization convinced the likes of James Maxwell, Ludwig Boltzmann, and Leo Tolstoy to begin thinking of people as molecules; Tolstoy, in particular, incorporating the repercussions of this logic into his 1969 tome War and Peace. [6]
When human life is viewed in historical timescales, viewed forward and backward, the "human molecule" view often tends to arise, often out through the use of statistics, such as conceived by individuals such as Ludwig Boltzmann and James Maxwell, or by the second law of thermodynamics, the arrow of time, as conceived by Henry Adams.

History | Buckle's 1857 History of Civilization
One of the most influential publications, according to 2004 views English social physicist Philip Ball, resulting to bring about the view that "people are like molecules" that "obey laws nearly as certain as those which regulate matter" was English Historian Henry Buckle's 1857 multi-volume tome History of Civilization in England, which is said to have influenced the minds of great thinkers such as Scottish physicist James Maxwell, Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann, and Leo Tolstoy to adopt the view that people are like particles or molecules.[38] Buckle is described as "the most avid proponents of a law-bound social physics".[6] In 1872, after reading Buckle, Boltzmann commented:

“Molecules are like to many individuals, having the most various states of motion, and the properties of gases only remain unaltered because the number of these molecules which on average have a given state of motion is constant.”

Likewise, in 1873, after reading Buckle, Maxwell commented: “These uniformities which we observed in our experiments with quantities of matter containing millions of molecules are uniformities of the same kind as those wondered at by Buckle arising from the slumping together of multitudes of causes each of which is by no means uniform with the others.” Ball goes on to argue, in a round about way, that the entire subject of the statistical mechanics of molecules, i.e. the employment of Maxwell-Boltzmann distributions to explain gas behavior, was based or rather inspired by Buckle's statistics used to explain of human behavior. Tolstoy, to a more significant effect, would “stuggle”, as Ball says, in his 1,400-page 1869 War and Peace, with the questions posed by Buckle’s deterministic view of history, debating topics such as free will in the view of the relation or attraction and repulsion movements of material “particles”, considered as analogs to humans, to such grand questions as “what is the force that moves nations”, along with topics such as the physics behind the “laws of human life”, among others.

History | Taine's 1869 history of human molecules
In 1869, French philosopher Hippolyte Taine reasoned that the science of history should be the historical study of people as though each was a “human molecule” and, on this basis, to view history as the study the psychology of individual human molecules and groups of human molecules, as mentioned.[39] Scottish social-philosopher Robert Flint discussed Hippolyte Taine’s view on the historical study of human molecules in his 1893 History of the Philosophy of History so as did historian George Gooch in his 1913 History and Historians in the Nineteenth Century. [40][41] Likewise, American historian Henry Adams learned of Taine's human molecule view of history in 1872, began writing out his thoughts on the "social chemistry" of human molecules by 1885, and by 1910 sent out a 126-page booklet entitled A Letter to American Teachers of History, in which suggested a new curriculum to American historians in that the time has come for students of history to begin to be taught the basics of physics and chemistry, particularly the effect of the second law of thermodynamics in shaping the course of history, as these hard sciences apply to the historical movement of humanity, using the view that people are "human molecules".[42]

History | Baudrillard's 1981 pataphysics of human molecules
A noted quote on the human molecule view used in the historical theory context if found in the pataphysics of French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, who in his 1990 book Cool Memories and 1994 book The Illusion of the End gives the following puzzle:[43][44] “Whether the universe is expanding to infinity or retracting towards an infinitely dense, infinitely small nucleus depends on its critical mass. By analogy, whether or human history is evolutive or involutive perhaps depends on humanity’s critical mass. Has the history, the movement, of the species reached escape velocity required to triumph over the inertia of the mass? Are we set, like the galaxies, on a definitive course distancing us from one another at prodigious speed, or is this dispersal to infinity destined to come to an end and the human molecules to come back together by an opposite process of gravitation? Can the human mass, which increases every day, exert control over a pulsation of this kind?” Prior to, in his famous 1981 Simulacra and Simulation, one of the three required reading books for the actors of the The Matrix trilogy, Baudrillard considered people to be “hydrocarbons”, that combine to form a “cultural molecule”, which can be recombined and synthesized into products or “broken cultural molecules”. [45] Keith Jenkins (1997), Rex Butler (1999), and Steve Redhead (2008) also discuss Baudrillard’s ideas on the involution and or evolution of human molecules.[46][47][48]
Henry Carey
American sociologist Henry Carey's 1858 three-volume opus The Principles of Social Science opens with the definition that man is a molecule, specifically the "molecule of society" and uses sciences such as physics and thermochemistry to develop theories such as social heat, social gravitation, human affinity reaction theory, among others.

In 1858, American sociologist Henry Carey, in his three-volume opus The Principles of Social Science, outlined a physics-chemistry based version of sociology wherein he specifically states that the subject of social science is the individual person who he defines as the “molecule of society”.[49] On this premise, similar to Goethe’s Elective Affinities, Carey outlines a large repertoire of physics/chemistry-based sociology concepts, such as ‘social gravitation’, ‘social heat’, ‘human chemical affinities’, among others. Carey’s view on how chemical affinity applies to reactions between human molecules is exemplified by the following quote: “In the inorganic world we find the power of combination growing with the increase of differences. Place a thousand atoms of oxygen in a receiver, and they will remain motionless; but introduce a single atom of carbon, and excite their affinities for each other, and at once motion will be produced. Such being the case in regard to all other matter, it must be so in regard to those combinations in which man is concerned, indicated by the term society.”

Sociology | Winiarski's 1894 social mechanics
One of the most technically thick utilizations of the human molecule or material human particle point of view was achieved by Polish economist and sociologist Leon Winiarski, a student of the Leon Walras-founded Lausanne school of “economic molecule” logic. Winiarski believed that “a social aggregate is nothing but a system of points, i.e. individuals, who are in perpetual movement of approaching or withdrawing from one another” and would spending a decade, in the 1890s, teaching a course on social mechanics, using the human material point perspective, at the University of Geneva, based on the thermodynamics of Rudolf Clausius and the mechanics of Joseph Lagrange. This logic was published in his collected 1898 work Essay on Social Mechanics. The following excerpt from Winiarski's 1900 report on “The Teaching of Pure Political Economy and Social Mechanics” give a taste of the density of the subject: [50]

“Having furnished the equations of social equilibrium, we have laid the foundations for social mechanics—on its static side—on the principle of Lagrange, that of least effort or greatest energy, i.e. on the principle that serves as the basis of cosmic mechanics. Passing to the dynamic side of the problem, we have given a definition of socio-biologic energy in the two following forms: Potential (hunger and love) and kinetic (economic, political, juridical, moral, esthetic, religious, and scientific). This led us to the application of the principles of thermodynamics, the third of which, that of Clausius, explains at the same time the gradual spiritualization of every closed social aggregate and the lowering of its potential. It is the dissipation of the entropy which takes place in the social world as in the physical world.”

Sociology | Pareto's 1896 sociology of human molecules
In the late 1890s, French-Italian mathematical engineer Vilfredo Pareto, another student of the Lausanne school, would spend nearly two-decades building on the human molecule viewpoint to construct a hard-science base version of sociology, as captured in his 1916 Treatise on General Sociology. Early on in his thinking, Pareto stated his objective as such:[51] “My wish is to construct a system of sociology on the model of celestial mechanics, physics, and chemistry.” Pareto would go on to define a society as follows: [52] “Society is a system of human molecules in a complex mutual relationship.” This chemistry basic definition of society would go on to be cited by many others such as economist Pitirim Sorokin and sociologist Margaret Vine.[53][54]

Sociology | Modern views
In his 1929 book An Introduction to Social Research, American sociologist Howard Odum devoted a section to the history of the human particle and human molecule concept in sociology, discussing Carey's human molecule views by also thinkers such as Polish economist Leon Winiarski who viewed people in a society, thermodynamically, as material points continuously attracting and receding from one another. In this section, Odum comments that: [55] “Human molecules gravitate toward one another through association, which generates heat, which produces motion, which in turn constitutes progress. This gravitation is measurable through physical laws.” Odum, to note, was no novice to the use of physics concept in sociology, having previously founded the journal Social Forces in 1922. Carey’s theories on the human molecule influenced Austrian social economist Werner Stark who in the 1960s would interpret Carey’s man the molecule of society theory to mean that people are ‘human molecules’, which defined as power-points which push and pull until a certain equilibrium is reached. The following excerpt by Stark exemplifies his viewpoint on this subject: [56] “In the physical universe, heat is engendered by friction. Consequently the case must be the same in the social world. The ‘particles’ must rub together here, as they do there. The rubbing of the human molecules, which produces warmth, light and forward movement, is the interchange of goods, services, and ideas.” In the 1970 book The Social Bond, American sociologist Robert Nisbet, influenced in his thinking by the 1885 human molecule views of Henry Adams, outlined a view in which he considered people to be ‘elementary human particles’, refers to the adhesion between two human particles as a ‘social bond’, and the attachment of two or more human particles to be a ‘social molecule’, wherein he spends a good deal of time discussing his version of "social entropy". [57]

At the turn of the century, American historian Henry Adams, after previously, in 1885, having defined "social chemistry" as the study of the attraction of equivalent "human molecules", began to expand on this viewpoint in his publications "The Tendency of History" (1894), "The Phase Rule Applied to History" (1909), and "A Letter to American Teachers of History" (1910), using concepts from physics, thermodynamics, and what he called "static chemistry" with aims develop a hard science version of history. These were later published in the 1920 collected works set The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma. Adams redefines attraction between human molecules in terms of a pressure measurement in systems. To cite one example, in attempting to integrate the second law of thermodynamics into a cyclical scheme of cycles of periods in human history, Adams suggests that the contraction of large volumes of human molecules, such as in the formation of grand states and countries, may act to release energy on a variation of the stellar hypothesis model so as to balance the dissipation of energy he thought to be occurring in human processes owing to entropy: [58] “The physicist may begin to treat primitive humanity as a volume of human molecules of unequal intensities, tending to dissipate energy, and to correct the loss by concentrating mankind into a single, dense mass like the sun. History would then be a record of successive phases of contraction, divided by periods of explosion, tending towards an ultimate equilibrium in the form of a volume of human molecules of unequal intensity, without coordination.”
Charles Galton Darwin (young)
In 1952, English physicist C.G. Darwin, in his book The Next Million Years, wrote an entire chapter on "human thermodynamics" a subject he defined as the statistical mechanics of systems of "human molecules", and explained how this branch of science could be used to predict the next million years of human evolution future. [59]

Thermodynamics | Darwin's 1952 statistical mechanics of human molecules
In 1952, English physicist C.G. Darwin, grandson of Charles Darwin, specifically defined the science of "human thermodynamics" as the statistical mechanics of systems of "human molecules". [59] C.G. Darwin, who had previously did work on the development of the statistical theory of thermodynamics with English physicist Ralph Fowler, coiner of the third law of thermodynamics, outlined his "human molecule" point of view in his book The Next Million Years, wherein just as physicists and chemists can "predict" physical and chemical processes, using thermodynamics, so to should social scientists be able to use thermodynamics to predict the next million years of evolution of humanity.

Thermodynamics | Molecular sociology
In 1971-72, New Scientist magazine published a two-part article on “Molecular Sociology” in discussing the question “do people behave like molecules?” In the first installment of the article, in answer to this question, they state that “the success of two recent attempts to analyze human behavior using the established laws of molecular motion and of thermodynamics might suggestion so.” [30] In particular, they discuss the highly-cited 1971 article “The Statistics of Crowd Fluids”, by Austrian mechanical engineer Le Roy Henderson, at the University of Sydney, who measured the movements of college students on a campus and children on a playground, finding that in both cases their movements fit the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, meaning that both velocities of gas particles and the speeds of students follow a Gaussian distribution. [29] Henderson found that crowds generally conform to the gas particle model, but found differences, such as that “men and women cannot be considered as ‘identical particles’. The article also cites the article “Demography and Thermodynamics” by American physicist Elihu Fein, a professor at the University of Chicago, who finds, though examination of factors such as per capita income, that social activity is analogous to molecular activity, and applies concepts such as entropy and adiabatic to social systems. [60] Fein, however, cautions his readers, in that although his analogies seem to have validity, he emphatically states that “the conclusion is not that people act like molecules”, but that the goal is to understand ourselves and the world through abstract concepts. Curiously, both the 1971 and 1972 New Scientist articles on molecular sociology also cites a person by the name of Daedalus who is said to have “developed a ‘molecular sociology’ an analogy between people and molecules [who] identified wealth in people with energy in molecules; [and] is now developing a financial thermodynamics or thermodynamics of money.” [61]

Thermodynamics | Modern views
In 1975, Austrian astrophysicist Erich Jantsch, who has been described as “Prigogine’s most famous disciple and interpreter”, devoted a section to the discussion of the second law of thermodynamics, entropy, and evolution in the context of what he called the thermal or Brownian motion of human ‘molecules’. [62] In 1998, Venezuelan-born English chemical engineer Erich Muller, who completed his PhD in surface thermodynamics, published his article "Human Societies: A Curious Application of Thermodynamics", in Chemical Engineering Education, wherein he employed what he called a "loose analogy" of people viewed as human molecules to explain integration and segregation in cities, in which he models people as “insignificant molecules” that interact with neighboring molecules by means of forces, in the physics sense, or thermodynamic potentials, in a thermodynamic sense. [63] Muller, a professor of thermodynamics, frequently uses people-viewed-as-molecules logic in his lectures, to such an educational effect that he was interviewed in 2006 by Reporter magazine, on how he “compares people to molecules” to explain topics such as how ghettos form or how certain people can act as “surfactant molecules”, among other topics. [64] In the 2007 book Money: Virtual Energy: Economy through the Prism of Thermodynamics, Russian bioelectrochemist Octavian Ksenzhek outlines the thermoeconomics of society on the view that "economy is a very large and extremely complicated system in which people are the 'molecules' of which it consists". [65]

The first to suggest employ thermodynamics in economics was German physicist Georg Helm in his 1887 book The Doctrine of Energy. Thermodynamics is the study of systems of molecules. Naturally enough, in the course of using thermodynamic theory to explain economic phenomenon and processes, scientists began to view people as "molecules". This school of thought occurred predominately in "Lausanne school" of physical economics.

Economics | Lausanne school
In the late 1870s, French sociologist and economist Leon Walras began to conceive of people as "economic molecules", to which the hard science logic of chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics, were argued to be applicable. According to English economist Hazel Henderson: [35] “Walras was an agrarian socialist and wanted to nationalize land, but he talked of humans as ‘economic molecules’ and gave concepts like scarcity scientific definitions analogous to heat in physics.” The views of Walras would eventually launched what's called the Lausanne school of economic thought, inclusive of thinkers such as Polish economist and sociologist Leon Winiarski (1894) or Italian engineer Vilfredo Pareto (1896), who each would go on to employ their own versions of human particle or human molecule logic. Winiarski stated, for instance, that “a social aggregate is nothing but a system of points, i.e. individuals, who are in perpetual movement of approaching or withdrawing from one another”. Pareto's view was that “society is a system of human molecules in a complex mutual relationship.”

Economics | Nelson's 1989 economic agents as human molecules
One of the most recent influential economic-version "human molecule" theorists is American philosopher Alan Nelson who in the late 1980s, while a philosophy professor at the University of California, Irvine, began developing a theory in which economic agents are viewed, in a physical chemistry and thermodynamic sense, as “human molecules”. In 1889 and 1890, Nelson began sending out various versions of his expanding theory in a paper entitled "Human Molecules", manuscripts which have since been cited and discussed in talks by the likes of those as economists Keven Hoover (Duke University) and Wade Hands (University of Puget Sound), among others.[66][67][68] Hoover comments 1990 version of Nelson's 1990 "Human Molecule" manuscript: [69] "Macroeconomics deals in aggregates. These aggregates are composed of the behaviors of individuals. Consumption as reported in the national income accounts is just the summation of the purchases of a nation's citizens. It is tempting then to see economic agents as human molecules (cf. Nelson [1990]) and the relations postulated in macroeconomic theory or measured in macroeconometrics as the analogues of the ideal gas laws or other macrophysical relations. But there is a crucial and obvious difference: molecules do not make choices, people do; and they do so with reference not just to the immediate past and their immediate surroundings, but also with reference to future goals and to global or macro relations." In 1992, following further theory development and feedback, Nelson's manuscript was expanded into into the first chapter of part two ("Molecules and Games") of the multi-author book Post-Popperian Methodology of Economics; the part two section of the book consisting of the following three chapters:[70][71][72]

  • "Human Molecules", by American philosopher Alan Nelson
  • “Commentary on Alan Nelson’s ‘Human Molecules’”, by American economist Bruce Caldwell
  • “Reply to Bruce Caldwell's Commentary on ‘Human Molecules’”, by Alan Nelson
Nelson's 1992 chapter on human molecules, wherein he conceives economic agents as “human molecules”, has since gained a level of following, having been cited more than a half-dozen times as a forerunner to the economic-version of the human molecule construct.[73][74][75] The 2009 Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics specifically cites Nelson has having originated this term in economics, each human molecule defined specifically as an 'ontologically distinct individual'; the term "human molecules" is also referred to, by the Oxford Handbook, as Danish-born American economist “Tjalling Koopmans' evocative coinage”, the noted joint winner of the 1975 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. [76] The actual publication where Koopmans' uses the term "human molecule", in coinage, however, is difficult to track down. In regards to Nelson's version, Australian philosopher Brian Ellis explains, in his 2001 Scientific Essentialism, that the comparison between molecules and humans is “explicitly drawn and discussed at length”, particularly in regards to modeling neoclassical economics in the view of classical thermodynamics. [77]

In 1891 book Riddles of the Sphinx, German-British philosopher Ferdinand Schiller outlined philosophical views on sex and love in relation to social life, wherein he considers people as atoms and bound sets of humans in relationships as molecules; specifically describing the couple in love as a 'human molecule'; he discusses the forces of attractions and repulsions at work in the most intimate unions, such as jealously. German psychologist and philosopher Eric Fromm outlined a philosophy of defined people as “human atoms”, and argued that the desire for interpersonal fusion between two human atoms is the most powerful striving in human life, in his best-selling 1956 The Art of Loving. In the 1994 book Collective Intelligence, Canadian cyberspace philosopher Pierre Levy outlined a Internet-themed metaphorical chemical philosophy to discuss bulk human behavior as “molar behavior” as governed by the bulk properties of “human thermodynamics”, as he discusses. An example quote is: “based on identities of adhesion, individuals are seen as a mass, as numbers, independent of their molecular wealth; the molar group organizes a kind of human thermodynamics, an exteriorized channeling of behavior and character that squanders individual qualities”; he also discusses concepts such as 'molecular politics', the “molecular group”, among others. A prominent modern human molecule view, used in philosophy, stems from the field of mereology the study of parts and the wholes they form, wherein people are viewed as “mereological atoms’’, as discussed by American-born English philosopher Eric Olson in his 1998 article “Human Atoms”. [78] In what's called "naive mereology", a type of naive set theory logic, the premise that all moving biological structures are atoms, is expressed by the following atomicity principle, which states that every x has a part y that is atomic in the sense that y has no proper parts:

 \exists y[Pyx \and \forall z[\lnot PPzy]]

In other words, this is a mathematical set theory way of saying that "all objects are either atoms or fusions of atoms". Olson specifically sites philosopher E.J. Lowe’s 1996 book Subjects of Experience, as being the prime example of this view, wherein Lowe is said to argue, according to Olson, that “you and I are mereological atoms shaped like human beings." Lowe, however, in detailed discussion, expresses a bipartisan view on the matter by stating that “one reason why I reject reductionism about laws is that I reject the view that a biological entity such as a tree can simply be regarded as being nothing over and above an assemblage of sub-atomic particles, even though we now believe that the ultimate constituents of trees (and of everything else material) are indeed such particles. Lowe goes on to argue that the existence of a tree in some sense ‘supervenes’ upon its constituent particles at any given time. [79]
Elective Affinities (painting) 250
Belgian surrealist artist by René Magritte 1993 oil-on-canvas depiction of the free will aspects of Goethe's 1809 novella Elective Affinities, depicting the view that people are born into cages of chemical affinities.

Free will
The subject of "free will", whether or not a person chooses their own actions or whether their actions are chosen for them, is the first hurdle that frequently arises when one begins to adopt the "human molecule" point of view of humans. It is obvious, to most, that molecules, such as CO_2 \, do not have a free will. It is also obvious, to many people, but not all, that humans have a free will. Therefore, the definition of a human as a molecule creates a paradox of sorts. Many great minds have grappled with this puzzle, often to the effect of shrugging the problem of with mentions of justifier terms such as chaos, unpredictability, or consciousness, among other inserts. Goethe, as discussed above, was the first to grapple with this issue, and used the stage of the three characters Eduard, Charlotte, and the Captain to debate the issue of choice and free will, in the context of themselves being large chemical reactants, among themselves: [12]

“I would never see a choice here but rather a natural necessity and indeed hardly that; for in the last resort it is perhaps only a matter of opportunity. Opportunity makes relationships just as much as it makes thieves; and where your natural substances are concerned, the choice seems to me to lie entirely in the hands of the chemist who brings these substances together.”

Similar to Goethe, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy grappled with free will 1869 War and Peace commented that: [80] “A particle of matter cannot tell us that it is unconscious of the laws of attraction and repulsion and that the law is not true; but man, who is the subject of history, says bluntly: I am free, and am therefore not subject to laws.” Thus, according to Tolstoy, man does not have a free will, because he is a particle of matter, but remains unaware of this fact. In 1952, conversely, English physicist C.G. Darwin defined humans as molecules, governed by the laws of thermodynamics, which are a type of molecule that do have free will. He states: [59] “The laws governing the nature of human molecules, lie much deeper [as compared to gas molecules], because unlike a molecule, a man has a free will, which make his actions unpredictable.”

Likewise, in the 2004 book Critical Mass, an entire book devoted to the development of a science of "social physics", in which people are viewed as atoms or molecules and basic physics is applied to explain human behavior, English chemist and physicist Philip Ball defensively makes mention of free will following nearly ever mention of his argument that people should be viewed as "insensate matter" versions of atoms or molecules; below is one example: [6]

“To develop a physics of society, we must take a bold step that some might regret as a leap of faith and others as preposterous idealization. You may have guessed it already: particles become people. To make that bold step a little easier, I shall introduce a stepping-stone that will bring life into the picture before we have to worry about such things as free will.”

Ball asks: “how could free will operate without contravening thermodynamics?” In other words, in the steam engine, the operation of which the laws of thermodynamics were derived, the water molecules inside the piston and cylinder do not choose to expand and contract in their volume as they do work, in each heat cycle but rather they are “forced” to do work, owing to alternating contact with a hot and cold body. The average person, however, as the sun heats and cools the earth, believes that he or she is choosing to do their various amounts of work, in each daily solar heat cycle. Ball comments on this, in: “Defenders of free will argue, with justification, that because statistical laws are not true laws in the sense of describing cause and effect, as Newton’s law of gravitation does, they cannot be applied to individuals and so say nothing about how any one person might act.” This argument seems to be based on either the Poincare recurrence theorem, Loschmidt's paradox, or Maxwell’s demon statistical objections to the second law; the latter topic of which Ball even conjectures on how the free will of the Demon might operate. Most Balls’ discussion of free will teeters on ambivalence leaning towards yes humans as molecules do have free will. At one point, however, Ball specifically states his exact opinion. In comment on American economics Robert Heilbroner’s 1953 claim that “the elements of nature ‘behave’ as they do for reasons of which we know only one thing: the particles of physics do not ‘choose’ to behave as they do”, Ball states “Heilbroner is, of course, right to say that humans make choices, whereas particles do not”. In other words, Ball is saying that a human is a type of molecule that “makes choices”. This type of logic, however, becomes incoherent when asking the same question of other molecules. Does, for example, the methane gas moleculeCH_4 \,“make choices”? Does a strand of DNA make choices? The level of uncertainty in this assertion by Ball is noted by his followup bracketed mention that “although quantum physicists sometimes speak as if they do.”

Differing from Ball's ambivalence on the matter, American physicist Mark Buchanan, in his 2007 book The Social Atom, declares in full glory that “we should think of people as if they were atoms or molecules”, but that this view “in no way conflicts with the existence of individual free will”. He reasons that “we can be free individuals whose actions, in combination, lead to predictable outcomes for the collective” in the same way that “atomic-level chaos gives way to clockwork precision of thermodynamics or planetary motion.”[81]

The hard-line thinker, however, will argue, similar to Tolstoy and Goethe, that the human molecule is no different than any other molecule, and that a human molecule moves, bends, and reacts, not by free will but by force, similar, albeit more advanced, to how the simple three-element retinal molecule moves when induced to move by the action of force or of chemical affinity the "force of reaction". This type of view is exemplified in the 2007 work of Russian bioelectrochemist Octavian Ksenzhek, as mentioned, who defines people as molecules, governed by the laws of thermodynamics, and on the topic of free will he states: [65] “Can one state on this basis [of water molecules forming frost on glass] that the pattern we admire is a realization of the molecules’ will or design? Certainly not. Molecules have neither free will nor any will at all. All a molecule can do is repel elastically from other chaotically moving molecules and sometimes, very seldom, lose some if its degrees of freedom and ‘freeze’ into a large collective.” One of the more elaborate publications on an attempt to argue for free will in the context of humans viewed in a physical chemistry sense is the 1985 book Atoms of the Living Flame: an Odyssey into Ethics and the Physical Chemistry of Free Will, by American physical chemist George Scott, wherein people as viewed as dissipative structures and that the human central nervous systems is in a in a "far-from-equilibrium" state, governed by Prigoginean-type non-equilibrium thermodynamics of the sort that "could chaotically amplify indeterminate events at the micro level" thus giving rise to free will. [82]
Christoph Wieland
German writer Christoph Wieland objected to Goethe's 1809 theory of human chemistry calling it "nonsense and childish fooling around" and "truly horrible work" on the grounds the grounds of the radicalness of its Christianity. [83]

The collision of olden religious (3500BC) theory with modern, post-Copernican (1453) science theory has always been a tenuous subject. In the case of the human molecule viewpoint, the relationship has generally been objectionable for many religious-adherents, compatible for some middle ground thinkers, and incompatible for many hard-line science thinkers. In the modern 21st century, for instance, many, even hardened scientists, will argue that they are not a molecule, by virtue of the fact that they have a soul that is under the control of God and beyond the realm of scientific analysis.

One of the first to object to atomic reductionism, was German poet and writer Christoph Wieland who in 1810, as mentioned, objected on the anti-Christianity of the Goethe’s chemical novella, commenting in a letter to German archeologist Karl Böttiger that Goethe’s modeling of humans as chemicals is "nonsense and childish fooling around". [14] Wieland considered Goethe's novella an anathema, calling it a "truly horrible work", objecting solely due to the radicalness of its Christianity. [83] In 1869, French engineer Francois Massieu, one of the founders of chemical thermodynamics, compared a person to a molecule of water and speculated on how one would differentiate between the soul and the body of the the molecule: [84]

“They cut the man into two parts, soul and body, the philosopher took one, and another the naturalist, they both have worked, studied on their behalf have lost sight and we find ourselves today in the presence of a duality, convenient perhaps, but unwise, in that it overlooked the man to deal with only two elements that constitute it. But in doing so we run the risk of being wrong. If one wanted to know the chemical properties of water  H_2 0 \, , seek it in those of oxygen H_2 \, and hydrogen O_2 \,? No, because he knows that there is little relationship between the characteristics of a substance and those of simple bodies which enter into its composition.”

Religion | Teilhard's 1936 spiritual molecules
In the decades to follow English naturalist Charles Darwin's 1859 On the Origin of Species, the question of the atomic origins of humans in relation to established concepts such as death, soul, God, the future, etc., began to come to the fore. For those with a purely religious-mindset, humans were formed by God and possess a soul or spirit that lives on after death. For those with a purely hard-science mindset, human were formed out of a chemical-physics process resulting from the expansion of the universe, following the Big Bang. Some, however, found a middle ground between these two extremes. One such thinker was French Jesuit priest, anthropologist, and philosopher Pierre Teilhard, who accepted the doctrines of evolution, chemistry, and physics, but also accepted a modified form of Christianity, and over the course of about thirty or so years (1916-1955), attempted to outline a reconciliation theory in between these two views. As summarized by Sara Weber, translator to the 1999 Sussex Academic Press English edition of Teilhard’s famous 1938 The Phenomenon of Man: [85]

“Teilhard extends the term ‘molecule’ ahead in time, from its use in the physical analysis of matter before life, to reflect a reality of physics within the human phenomenon; so that ‘molecule’ becomes ‘mega-molecule’ and then ‘human molecule’.”

Teilhard argues, in contrast to the dominant view, that even exists today, that there is a huge void that separates life from non-life, often appeased in modern times by mentions of terms such as "emergence", that in contrast there is no separation between atoms and humans, but rather than chemical mechanism links the evolution process, in stepping trough various “intermediate states” of formations of bigger and bigger “molecular aggregates” along a connective chemical mechanism of evolution. Teilhard retains religion in his argument by conceiving of the view that there is neither matter nor spirit in the universe, but one substance, which he calls “spirit-matter”, that is responsible for the formation of the human molecule. This spirit-matter, according to Teilhard, is driving evolution towards an omega point, a sort of modified version of the evolution version of the promised land, so-to-speak. Teilhard’s theories, in his day, were all rejected by the Church, and his work was all published post humorously and he has since gained a large, almost cult-like following. A few popular quotes by Teilhard, from his book The Future of Man, written over a period of thirty years, on the subject of human molecules include: [86]

  • “If the power of attraction between simple atoms is so great, what may we not expect if similar bonds are contracted between human molecules?”
  • “We must assume that under the rapidly mounting pressure forcing them upon one another the human molecules will ultimately succeed in finding their way through the critical barrier of mutual repulsion to enter the inner zone of attractive.”
  • “The very excess of external compression to which we are subjected by the relative contraction of our planet may one day cause us to breach that mysterious wall of growing repulsion which, more often than not, sets the human molecules in opposition to one another, and enter the powerful, still unknown field of our basic affinities.”
  • “The human molecules are tightly packed together, and the more this is the case the more impossible it becomes for them, owing to their nature and structure, not to merge both physically and in spirit.”
  • “Those who think on Marxist lines believe that all that is necessary to inspire and polarize the human molecules is that they should look forward to an eventual state of collective reflection and sympathy, at the culmination of anthropogenesis, from which all will benefit through participation.”

Teilhard's collected works, on this subject, which amount to several dozens of books, are among the densest of theories on the human molecule. In the 1969 book The Presence and Absence of God, to cite one example of many of the influence of Teilhard's views, Christopher Mooney summarizes Teilhard’s human molecule omega point theory as such: [87]

“To polarize the human molecules that they should look forward to an eventual state of collective reflection and sympathy at the culmination of anthropogenesis, from which all will benefit through participation; a vault of intermingled thoughts, as it were, a closed circuit of attachments in which the individual will achieve intellectual and affective wholeness.”

Religion | Fuller's 2005 "I Am Not A Molecule"
A recent religious-based objection of the human molecule view, comes from sociologist and intelligent design advocate Steve Fuller, who in 2005 wrote an entire article for New Scientist magazine entitled “I An Not a Molecule”, arguing against atomic reductionism in sociology, wherein he argues that the recent social physics attempts, in particular English chemical physicist Philip Ball’s 2004 Critical Mass, wherein masses of people are treated as bulk systems of atoms or molecules, is "infuriating the social scientists". [88]

Religion | Rossini debate
Another rather heated debated erupted when in 2006 American physical chemist John Wojcik, of the Catholic-based Villanova University, sent in an article to the Journal of Chemical Education, in objection to American chemical thermodynamicist Frederick Rossini’s 1971 lecture “Chemical Thermodynamics in the Real World”, wherein it was argued by Rossini that chemical thermodynamics can be used to understand the paradox between freedom and security in social life, Wojcik argued, in contrast, that there is great “danger” in the use of “anthropomorphism in chemistry” in that some may “come to believe that there is substance in them”; moreover: “worst of all, there is the danger that chemical thermodynamics will have ascribed to it a power that it simply does not have, namely, the power to 'explain' the human condition.”[89] This triggered a flurry of response letters, arguing for or against this view, from chemists such as Harold Leonard and Todd Silverman, and as well as economists, such as Jing Chen.

Hippolyte Taine (young)
In 1869, French philosopher Hippolyte Taine stated that the "psychology of the human molecule" and the "psychology of groups of human molecules" is a field of study germane to both the historian and the psychologist.
In 1869, French philosopher Hippolyte Taine, in his book On Intelligence, posited that in the future someone, possibly a psychologist or a historian, will be able to "write the psychology of the human molecule, or a particular group of human molecules, in their various transformations." [39] Taine’s views on the subject of the “psychology of the human molecule” would go on to be re-quoted by the likes of Scottish philosopher Robert Fling among numerous others.[40][90][41] The usage of the term “human molecule” by Taine was even featured in the 1902 book Word Coinage by Leon Mead. [91] Those who were significantly affected by Taine's views on psychology of the human molecule, i.e. affected enough to extend on Taine's view, include American historian Henry Adams, who learned of Taine's human molecule theories in 1872, and would go on to spend forty-years thinking about how the concept of people viewed as human molecules could be studied using the principles of physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics; German physician and diplomat Ernst Gryzanowski (1824-1888), who in 1875 commented on how the human molecule concept applies to law (see law section below); to French education reformer Max Leclerc (1864-1932), who in 1894 commented that “even numbered piles of human molecules, in a huge turning wheel, under the pedal of the stroke of the Minister, crushes and destroys humanity down to the pulp”.

In 1971, American writer Jean Brooks, gives a commentary, in the context of psychology, on the human molecule views of English novelist Thomas Hardy, in stating that people “are irresistibly moved to work towards one another by strong affinity; and the human molecules in which they are ingredients are dragged along with them, until the element affinity is satisfied.”[92][93]

In 1874, stimulated by the social physics proposals of French sociologist Auguste Comte and human molecule logic of Hippolyte Taine and Henry Adams, German physician and diplomat Ernst Gryzanowski (1824-1888) reasoned that: [94]

“Civil law, commerce, political economy, and international ethics are all based on the assumption that the social body consists of such human molecules, and there is no reason why the methods of physical science should not be applied to the statics and dynamics of that society, the passions and rights of the individual man corresponding exactly to the chemical and physical forces inherent in the material molecule.”

In 1913 commentary on English journalist George Perris’ 1911 book A Short History of War and Peace, American lawyer A. H. Snow published a review of Perris's conception of human molecules in the context of law, war, and forces that impede the development of better laws, in The American Journal of International Law, wherein he expressed the view that: [95]

“War is often a process of evolution — an explosive process which occurs when the progressive movement of human molecules towards a reorganization making for equality of opportunity and a betterment of the law, is unduly held back by the forces of standpatism and vested interests.”

At the University of Paderborn, since the late 1990s, Germany physicist Jurgen Mimkes has been running and entire socio-economic department teaching the physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics of society wherein he uses the logic that “society is a many particle system” and that people can be modeled as individual molecules, and use models such as the Lagrangian to model the energy of the social system, phase transitions to model evolution, etc., so as to explain topics such as integration, segregation, democracy, etc. [96] Mimkes, in the historical section to his 2000 Journal of Thermal Analysis article “Society as a Many Particle System”, specifically cites Greek philosopher Empedocles’ friends mixing like water and wine; enemies segregating like oil and water analogies, along with German polymath Johann Goethe's 1809 Elective Affinities, as discussed above, as being the fore-runners to the society as a many particle system view of socio-economic physics. [36]

Out of this school, Mimkes has produced graduate students, including Think Christian, thesis “Analysis of Integration of Problems of Society Using the Methods of Physics” (2002), Thorsten Frund, dissertation “Analysis of Income, Wealth, and Society with Physical Methods” (2002), among others. Mimkes is presently writing a book, The Chemistry of the Social Bond, explaining how physical chemistry based “social bonds” exist between the particles of society, i.e. people viewed as molecular analogues. Frund, in his own words, attempts to investigate social relationships using physical methods, particularly statistics and thermodynamics, dealing with the distributions of atoms, particles, or states, so as to make predictions on system behavior, and argues that “we can use thermodynamics to draw conclusions about sociological or economic systems”, commenting that German sociodynamics physicist Wolfgang Weidlich is the originator of approach, having began using theoretical physics-socio-economic isomorphism in 1983.[97][98]

English chemist and physicist Philip Ball's 2004 Aventis Prize-winning book Critical Mass, as discussed, gives the most-robust overview of the physics of the human-particle/human-molecule view of social dynamics. [6]
Molecule man (Berlin)
American sculpture artist Jonathan Borofsky’s 1996 100-ft "Molecule Man" sculpture (one of four world-wide) on the Spree River, Berlin, in front of the Treptowers; each hole representing, in Borofsky's view: “the molecules of all human beings coming together to create our existence”.

In 1977, American sculpture artist Jonathan Borofsky conceived what he called his “molecule idea”, the view that “even though we appear to be quite solid, we are in fact composed of a molecular structure which in itself is mostly composed of water and air.” In the thirty-years to follow, Borofsky when on to sculpt various indoor and outdoor statues and paintings of human figures embracing each other in congratulations, filled with hundreds of holes, each hole representative of “the molecules of all human beings coming together to create our existence”. There are four outdoor sculptures: Los Angeles, California, USA (height: 30-ft, built: 1978), Yorkshire, England (height: 30-ft, built: 1988), Berlin, Germany (height: 100-ft, built 1996), and Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA (height: 50-ft, built: 2008).

In 1988, Canadian aboriginal artist Norval Morrisseau painted an noted acrylic on canvas work entitled ‘Human Molecule’, alluding to the idea that a human being is a type of animal-molecule or an evolved type of bird-fish-human that has a chemical origin or composition. [100]

In 2005, Canadian communications designer Shawn LaPaix created a “human molecule” themed poster for the 2005 University of British Columbia Art Gallery exhibit “The Human Body in History”, using the 1952 CPK coloring scheme: red = oxygen, blue = nitrogen, gray = hydrogen, black = carbon (not shown), modeled on English biologist Thomas Huxley’s famous 1863 evolution of man from ape to human diagram, alluding to the idea that human is a body of evolving atoms, formed into the structure of a molecule, that has been chemically synthesized into its current form, over long spans of evolutionary time. [101]

The cover art for the 2010 EP Human Thermodynamics, by Romanian electronic music producer Bogdan Anghel, containing four thermodynamics/heat transfer themed the songs: pressure correlations, phase transitions, aerospace race, and transport phenomenon, depicts people as gas-like human particles or human molecules, flying about and interacting sort of like the particles of an ideal gas in a state of Utopian natural harmony with the earth. [102] The cover themes its origin on English physicist C.G. Darwin’s 1952 description of the science of human thermodynamics as the statistical mechanics of human molecules, governed by a law similar to Boyle's law. [59]

Hu element 300px
Depiction of the famous Hu element, of the Dow Chemical "The Human Element" advertising campaign, conceived by John Claxton of Draftfcb Chicago, depicting the human as the "missing element" from the periodic table.

In 2006, Dow Chemical, the world’s second largest chemical manufacturer, in coordination with advertising agency Draftfcb Chicago, particularly creative director John Claxton, launched their popular multi-year advertising campaign The Human Element, the “missing element” of the periodic table, depicting visceral images of people, many from third world countries, with the element symbol box, symbol Hu, and atomic number 7E+09, overlaid on the picture, in aims to convey the message that the human is a type of chemical element that is somehow missing from the standard chemical periodic table, but one that should be the focus of beneficial-to-humanity chemical applications. The campaign has run for several years and in 2008 won the Effie Award.

The “voice” of the campaign, was themed on three things: science essays, the writing of American biologist E. O. Wilson, and contemporary American poetry. The campaign was very moving for many: “we were completely surprised by the passionate response from people at all levels of society. From teachers to politicians to parents, people were so moved that they felt compelled to write to the company and express their feelings. The campaign struck a nerve in a way that we had never imagined”, says Claxton. [103]

In 2009 Axe body spray launched there "Axe Periodic Table" advertisement. [104] The advertisement creation was done by the Lowe/SSP3-Bogota agency, under the direction of Jose Sokoloff, which shows the human element, a man named ‘Homer’, which may be a play on the 2006 Dow Chemical ‘human element’ ad campaign, above a periodic table of women, wherein each element box a woman’s name is written accompanying a picture, below which the ad hook reads “love is a matter of chemistry.” [105]

1998 performance of American playwright Tom Stoppard's Arcadia (Elective Affinities remake), opening scene, act II, at Willamette University Theater, November.
Literature | plays
Fiction authors frequently use chemical analogies modeling people as atoms, molecules, or chemicals, a prime example American playwrite Tom Stoppard's 1993 award-winning play Arcadia, a modern-day second law of thermodynamics based version of Goethe's Elective Affinities. The play takes place the same year, 1809, as the Goethe's novella, even having some of the same characters, such as the "Naval Captain", referring to human interactions as the "actions of bodies in heat", discussing how this relates to Thomas Newcomen's steam engine, among other topics, such as chaos. According to the 2001 review A Thermodynamic Analysis of Stoppard’s Arcadia”, by American literary critique Stella Copeland, each person in the play is a complex molecule, regulated by the laws of thermodynamics and evolution. [106]

An oft-quoted human molecule view in literature is found in American writer Forbes Allan’s 1999 novel Milton’s Progress, in which the characters discuss a version of “human thermodynamics”, similar to C.G. Darwin (1952), that “people are like particles, they behave in groups as if they were molecules in a test-tube.” The book also utilizes Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine’s 1971 theory of dissipative structures, wherein a character named John and a Dr. Snipe, along with references to a “Ilya Meiliakin” (Ilya Prigogine), argue that human life is “the most effective multiplier of entropic decay in the universe”.

In the 2001 film Shallow Hal, by American screenwriters Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly, Hal's coworker explains to Hal that beautiful women are simply well-formed large molecules: “when are you going to get it, they’re just well formed molecules”.

An example of human molecules used in poetry is found in the featured poem "Unique" by the later English writer Margaret Pepino (1921-2009): [107]

Disconcerting to discover
That this is inner sense
Of individuality
Belongs to everyone

Still, I assert
With stubborn certainty,
Though tethered down in groups
Of human molecules,
That I experience this, or that
In an exclusive way.

Grimly, selfish, I say
I am Me, special and

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(b) Staff. (1955). “Do People ‘Explode’ in Your Office?” Science News (pg. 268)., Vol. 67-68.
19. Dreier, Thomas and Esselen, Gustavus. (1948). We Human Chemicals: the Knack of Getting Along with Everybody (pg. 4). Updegraff Press.
20. Fairburn, William Armstrong. (1914). Human Chemistry. The Nation Valley Press, Inc.
21. Fairburn, William, A. (1915). The Individual and Society (“man a cunning bit of chemistry”, pg. 49; “men are like chemicals”, pg. 807). Nation Press.
22. Carey, George W. (1919). The Chemistry of Human Life (chemical formula in operation, pg. 61) . Los Angeles: The Chemistry of Life Co.
23. Henderson, L. F. (1971). “The Statistics of Crowd Fluids”, Nature, 229: 381-83.
24. Staff. (1971). “Molecular Sociology Arrives at Last”, New Scientist, pg. 286. Feb 11.
25. Staff. (2010). “The Wisdom of Crowds”, PhysicsWorld, Apr.
26. Ramsay, William. (1898). “The Kinetic Theory of Gases and Some of its Consequences” (human molecules, pg. 685). The Contemporary Review, 74: 681-91.
27. (a) Sterner, Robert W. and Elser, James J. (2002). Ecological Stoichiometry: the Biology of Elements from Molecules to the Biosphere (human molecule, pgs. 3, 47, 135; Chapter One, online). Princeton University Press.
(b) Fisher, Len. (2009). The Perfect Storm: the Science of Complexity in Everyday Life ("people can be likened to molecules", pg. 24). Basic Books.
28. Handscombe, Robert D. and Patterson, Eann A. (2004). The Entropy Vector: Connecting Business and Science (human and molecules, pg. 162). World Scientific.
29. Henderson, Hazel. (1981). The Politics of the Solar Age: Alternatives to Economics (economic molecules, pg. 209). New York: Anchor Press.
30. (a) Mimkes, Jurgen. (2000). “Society as a Many Particle System”, Journal of Thermal Analysis, Vol. 60.
(b) Mimkes, Juergen. (2008). “A Thermodynamics Formulation of Social Science”; in Econophysics and Sociophysics: Trends and Perspectives, ch. 10 ( pgs. 279-; elements of society, pg. 283). Wiley.

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103. Grbic, Jovana J. (2009). “Selling Science Smartly: Dow Human Element Campaign (Interview with advertising mastermind John Claxton)”, Feb 18.
104. Axe: Periodic Table (full size) –
105. Joseph, Sijo. (2009). “The New Chemistry, Presented by Axe”, Aug 05,
106. Copeland, Stella. (2001). “A Thermodynamic Analysis of Stoppard’s Arcadia”, Colorado College.
107. Sarah, Corrie, and Lane, David. (2010). Constructing Stories, Telling Tales: A Guide to Formulation in Applied Psychology (human molecules, pg. xli). Karnack Books.

References (original)

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  65. ^ EP Cover (500x475px) – Bogdan | Human Thermodynamics EP (2010).

Further reading
● Dreier, Thomas. (1910). "Human Chemicals". Backbone Society.
● Fairburn, William Armstrong. (1914). Human Chemistry. The Nation Valley Press, Inc.
● Dreier, Thomas and Esselen, Gustavus. (1948). We Human Chemicals: the Knack of Getting Along with Everybody. Updegraff Press.
● Darwin, Charles G. (1952). The Next Million Years (Ch. 1: Introduction: "thermodynamics of human molecules", pgs. 13-29). London: Rupert Hart-Davis.
● Dreier, Thomas. (1954). The Executive as a Human Chemist: Opening the Door to an Important and Very-Little-Explored area of Human Understanding and Management Opportunity. Executive Development Press.
● Clarke, Betsy. (1981). “Of Randomly Savage Human Molecules”, in Chronicles of Culture, pg. 133). Rockford College Institute.
● Nelson, Alan. (1992). “Human Molecules” (Chapter 3), in: Post-Popperian Methodology of Economics, pgs. 113-33) by Neil De Marchi. Kluwer Academic Press.
● Dewey, Joseph. (1999). The Molecular Relationship. Boise, Idaho: Great AD-Ventures.
● Hodgson, John. (2002). The Little Fun Book of Molecules Humans. Gloomington, IN: 1st Books.
● Buchanan, Mark. (2007). The Social Atom. Bloomsbury.
● Hodgson, John. (2009). Molecules Humans. Morrisville, NC: LuLu.

Human atomisms – Circa 1995 discussion by American physicist Arthur Iberall (1918-2002)
Social atoms – 2007 Microsoft lecture by American physicist Mark Buchanan.
Molecular relationships – 2007 two-part video by American writer J.J. Dewey on his 1999 book The Molecular Relationship.
Mr. Carbon Atom – a 2010 video lecture by English biologist Mark Janes.

External links
Human molecules -
Are You a Giant Molecule? (2001 poll) -
● Rousseau, Pierre. (2006). “The Constant flow of Human Molecules”,
● Murali, D. (2010). “Human Particles in the Corporate Molecule”, The Hindu, May 29.
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