Motoyosi Sugita

photo neededIn hmolscience, Motoyosi Sugita (1905-1990) was a Japanese physicist noted, in chnopsological thermodynamics, for his work on the thermodynamic understanding of life.

In 1952, Sugita, in his “Negative Entropy”, critiqued Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger’s 1943 negative entropy hypothesis and his Note to Chapter 6, in which he opens to the following: [1]

“Although the term "negative entropy" has become well known around the world, its meaning is not necessarily clear. In the beginning Shrodinger invited criticism by saying that what we eat is not calories but "order'' (or "orderliness"). In fact, even if you eat pork it does not mean its orderliness will enter you directly, and though you ingest organic compounds, about the only orderliness you will take into yourself is that of amino acids. Then in the Note to Chapter VI Shrodinger corrects his claim that an organism discharges positive entropy through heat emission by writing that this could be regarded as ingesting negative entropy. But because an organism is an open system, it discards compounds with little free energy, such as C02, H20, and urea, with entropy when breathing, urinating, and the like. Thus one might go so far as to say that it is the lavatory where we take in negative entropy. Correctly, however, this is just a look from the reverse direction at how we discharge positive entropy through the total balance of our interaction with the surrounding environment, such as eating, drinking, excretion, and emitting heat. Nevertheless, this has important significance as a transitional phenomenon, an example being a stove that discharges positive entropy through its chimney and maintains a temperature differential by combustion sustained with a draft of air. The stove maintains what might be called a low entropy level. An organism is able to keep the balance of disintegration and synthesis (reproduction) and maintain a low entropy level only when this draft effect works. Should this effect not work, both the organism and the stove must eventually enter a death phase, i.e., an equilibrium state. But in the final analysis, negative entropy means nothing more than that, for it cannot explain what is meant by maintaining a low entropy level. All one can say is this: The assumption that orderliness is maintained by ceaseless intake alone leads to the conclusion that "disintegration" will ensue if intake stops, which contradicts the idea that within an organism orderliness is "frozen" or that "disintegration" is delayed.”

Sugita was one of the founding members of the Society for Studies on Entropy (SSE), established in 1983 in Japan by a group of people who felt concern for problems of entropy not only in natural and technological systems, but also in social systems and economic systems. [2]

1. Mayumi, Kōzō. (2001). The Origin of Ecological Economics: the Bioeconomics of Georgescu-Roegen (pgs. 47-48). Routledge.
2. Sugita, Motoyosi. (1952). “Negative Entropy”, Kagaku (Science), Vol. 22. No. 2. In: “Selected Papers on Entropy Studies”, Vol. 6. No. 1., 2000, The Society for Studies on Entropy.

Further reading
● Sugita, Motoyosi. (1953). “Thermodynamical Analysis of Life I: Thermodynamics of Transient Phenomena”, Journal of Physical Society of Japan (pgs. 697-703), Vol. 8, No. 6. Nov-Dec.
● Sugita, Motoyosi. (1953). “Thermodynamical Analysis of Life II: On the Maximum Principle of Transient Phenomena”, Journal of Physical Society of Japan (pgs. 704-709), Vol. 8, No. 6. Nov-Dec.
● Sugita, Motoyosi. (1953). “Thermodynamical Analysis of Life III: Mathematical Analysis of Metabolism”, Journal of Physical Society of Japan (pgs. 709-713), Vol. 8, No. 6. Nov-Dec.

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