Phase transition

In science, phase transition is a change in a feature, namely: state (solid, liquid, gas, plasma) or magnetism (paramagnetic, ferromagnetic), or conductivity (normal conductivity, superconductivity), that characterizes a system.

The history of the parlay of the term "phase", as in change of state, to other aspects of change, e.g. magnetism, conductivity, social phenomena, is in need of clarification, a large part of which simply seems to be term adoption, without explanation. To cite one example, in 1995 American biochemist (chnops-chemist) Stuart Kauffman argued the following to account for the origin of life as a type of chemical reaction "phase change" from dead molecular species to alive system of molecules on fire: [2]

“Alone, each molecular species is dead. Jointly, once catalytic closure among them is achieved, the collective system of molecules is alive. As a threshold of diversity is crossed, a giant web of catalyzed reactions crystallizes in a phase transition. A critical diversity of molecules must be reached for the system to catch fire, for catalytic closure to be attained.”

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Socioeconomic | Transitions
See main: Social phase
In 1909, American historian Henry Adams wrote his article “The Rule of Phase Applied to History” based on a crude interpretation of Gibbs phase rule. [3] In it Adams attempted to use Maxwell’s demon, as an historical metaphor, though he seems to have misunderstood and misapplied the principle. Adams interpreted history as a process moving towards "equilibrium", but he saw militaristic nations (he felt German pre-eminent in this class) as tending to reverse this process, a "Maxwell's demon of history". Adams made many attempts to respond to the criticism of his formulation from his scientific colleagues, but the work remained incomplete at Adams' death in 1918. It was only published posthumously.

In 20th century, a number of usages of the term “phase transitions” began to be applied to things such as: opinion dynamics, historical change, origin of life theory, emergence models, complexity theory, among others.

Some of these models come from Ising model (Ising model of human behavior) others from bifurcation theory and chaos theory.

In 2001, Romanian econophysicists Margareta Ignat and Mircea Gligor began applying phase transition theory to model demographic crashes. [3]

In 2010, Romanian electronics music artist Bogdan published his EP Human Thermodynamics, modeled on the theme of the cite, containing four tracks: pressure correlations, phase transitions, aerospace race, and transport phenomena.

See also
Phase rule
Phase thermodynamics

1. Daintith, John. (2005). Oxford Dictionary of Science. Oxford University Press.
2. Kauffman, Stuart. (1995). At Home in the Universe: the Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity (pg. 64). Oxford University Press.
3. Gligor Mircea and Ignat, Margareta. (2001). “Some Demographic Crashes Seen as Phase Transitions” (abs), Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 301:535-44.

Further reading
● Kacperski, Krzysztof and Holyst, Janusz A. (2000). “Phase Transitions as Persistent Feature of Groups with Leaders in Models of Opinion Formation” (abs), Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 287(3-4):631-43.
● Hylyst, Janusz A., Kacperski, Krzysztof, and Schweitzer, Frank. (2000). “Phase Transitions in Social Impact Models of Opinion Formation” (abs) (pdf), Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 285(1-2):199-210.

External links
Phase transition – Wikipedia.

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