Prigogine’s disciples

In thermodynamics, Prigogine’s disciples refers to people influenced so much so by the work and theories of Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine that they are considered his “disciples” or followers. In fact, according to his 2003 obituary article in Nature, in his lifetime Prigogine “attracted numerous disciples”. [1] The following is example 1982 quote giving an idea of the reality of this term: [2]

“This interpretation [Rifkin’s] is simplistic in the eye’s of Prigogine’s disciples, one of whom, the philosopher Edgar Morin, has contemptuously described it as something extracted from the ‘thermodynamic Vulgate’”

Below is another 2008 quote from the Wessex Institute of Technology: [3]

“The Prigogine Medal to honor his memory is awarded annually to a leading scientist in the field of ecological systems. All recipients so far have been deeply influenced by the work of Prigogine, to the point that they could justly be called his disciples.”

Ervin Laszlo has been self-described or designated by others as a disciple of Prigogine. Belgian physicist Radu Balescu states that he had the privilege of being “one of Prigogine’s oldest disciples”. [4] Austrian astrophysicist Erich Jantsch has been described as “Prigogine’s most famous disciple and interpreter.” [5]

Benard cells
Supposedly, to know if one is a disciple of Prigogine, a reader need only note the significance put on Bénard cell convection: [6]

“Bénard convection, a sort of whirlpool, is constantly quoted by Prigogine and his disciples.”

Many people, such Chilean philosophers Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, are also considered as “followers” of Prigogine. [7] The following quote gives an example of the use of this term: [8]

Dissipative structures certainly do exist in nature. The example cited ad nauseam by the followers of Prigogine is the so-called Bénard cell.”

Others | With disciples
Sigmund Freud
Leslie White

1. Anon. (2003). “Obituary: Ilya Prigogine (1917-2003)”, Nature, 424: 30, Jul 03.
2. Fernández-Galiano, Luis. (2000). Fire and Memory: On Architecture and Energy (pg. 113). MIT Press.
3. Anon. (2008). “The Sustainable City 2008: Fifth International Conference on Urban Regeneration and Sustainability”, Wessex Institute of Technology.
4. Rice. Stuart A. (2007). Special Volume in Memory of Ilya Prigogine: Advances in Chemical Physics, Vol. 135. (pg. 3). Wiley.
5. (a) Ching-Yao, Hsieh, Ye, Meng-Hua. (1991). Economics, Philosophy, and Physics (pg. 127). M.E. Sharpe.
(b) Capra, Fritjof. (1988). Uncommon Wisdom: Conversations with Remarkable People (pg. 84). Simon & Schuster.
6. Redclift, M.R. and Woodgate, Graham. (1995). The Sociology of the Environment, Vol. 3 (pg. 50). E. Elgar Pub.
7. Rabinovitz, Lauren and Geil, Abraham. (2004). Memory Bytes: History, Technology and Digital Culture (pgs. 58, 59, 74). Duke University Press.
8. Corning, Peter A. (2003). Nature’s Magic: Synergy in Evolution and the Fate of Humankind (pg. 284). Cambridge University Press.

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