Gilbert Lewis (on behavior)

In science, behavior refers to the way in which something functions or operates; or conducts itself in a manner involving action and response to stimuli. [1]

In 1925, American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis, in his "Anatomy of Science" lecture, end chapter: “Life; Body and Mind”, speculated on a future science that in a unified manner would be able to describe the behavior of both an electron and a university faculty member, but doesn't know whether this would be more like mechanics or psychology, quote shown adjacent in full. Further on toward the end of his lecture, Lewis stated the following:

“We cannot forget that there are two kinds of behavior with which we are already intimately acquainted: on one hand, the behavior of weights and electric charges and chemical reagents; on the other hand, the behavior of man. These require two distinct vocabularies, and most writers who describe animal behavior have adopted the one or the other. We have ‘nature fakers’, who make animals think and act just like men, and there are the others, who regard the swarming of bees as a sort of chemical reaction. I do not know which of these two extremes to regard as the more futile, for both extrapolations go far beyond what is now justifiable. Yet the attempt to bridge the vast gulf is a legitimate aim of science.”

Although Lewis doesn’t cite any one here, two historical examples of such comparison include French meteorologist Antoine Poincare who in his circa 1875 chapter “New Concepts of Matter”, to his book On Science, the behavior of a cluster of midges, which are tiny dipteran flies, to a system of gas molecules. [4]

Likewise, earlier German physicist Hermann Helmholtz, in his Carlsruhe winter lectures of 1862-1863, entitled “On the Conservation of Force”, he made the comparison of a system of gas particles to a system of gnats, the former of which were hypothesized to cross one another in rectilinear paths in all directions, until, striking one another or the sides of the vessel, and reflecting in another direction. [4]

In circa 2000, American nuclear-mechanical engineer Philip Ugorowski gave the following supposedly dumbed-down description of the nucleus, to his friend biologist-artist Linda Hensley: [7]

“Forget the classic image of an atom as a solid ball with a smaller solid ball orbiting around it. Think about the nucleus as a jostling swarm of bees.”
Dead atom (alive bee)
An modified version of American illustrator Linda Hensley’s 2010 illustration of American nuclear physicist Philip Ugorowski’s description of the “nucleus as a jostling swarm of bees, and I happily absorbed his explanation of the orbiting electrons as more bees, or maybe gnats” to illustrate the apparent (or non-apparent) "dead atom" / "living molecule" (bee) divide, dichotomy, or dualism. [7]

In more detail, Ugorowski explains: [8]

“I developed [the bee analogy] after reading The Tao of Physics [1975], which talks about something similar. Basically it's that the standard model of physics describes forces between particles like protons, neutrons and electrons as arising out of the exchange of virtual particles or photons. This exchange makes the particles "aware" of each other, and the exchange is what actually produces the force. For example, two protons, being both negatively charged, will repel, but how? What is the actual mechanism of the 'electric field'? If you think of them as not solid objects like balls but more as swarms of bees, then you can see how, by exchanging bees, the two swarms would be able to tell (by the rate of exchange of bees) how large the other swarm was, and how close. It is in this exchange that the particles "feel" the presence of the other, and are pulled or pushed toward or away from each other. So-called 'solid' objects are actually more process than substance. Even a single proton is considered to be mostly empty space, with 3 quarks flying around in a tightly defined volume of space.”

Hensely's artistic recollection of this description, with her addition of orbiting electrons as bees, is shown adjacent.

In 1947, Dutch-born American mathematician, theoretical physicist, economist Tjalling Koopmans stated the following:

“While it was long possible and sometimes tempting for physicists to deny the usefulness of the molecular hypothesis, we economists have the good luck of being some of the ‘molecules’ of economic life ourselves, and of having the possibility through human contacts to study the behavior of other ‘molecules’.”

In 1970s, Koopmans began speculating on how entropy applies to the study of these molecules of economic life.

In 1953, American economist Robert Heilbroner stated the following:

“There is an unbridgeable gap between the ‘behavior’ of [subatomic particles] and those of human beings who constitute the objects of study of social science. Aside from pure physical reflexes, human behavior cannot be understood without the concept of volition—the unbridgeable capacity to change our minds up to the very last minute. By way of contrast, 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.”

In 1989, American philosopher Alan Nelson began circulating a manuscript entitled "Human Molecules", later published in chapter form (1992), wherein "economic agents" are viewed as human molecules, and a followup response chapter, by Bruce Caldwell, criticizing this view; followed by a response chapter by Nelson to Caldwell's criticism.

In 2002, American econophysicist Meng-Hua Ye, in his course description to his St. Mary’s College of Maryland Econ 101 “Introduction to Economics” course, described economics as follows: [3]

“Economics: the study how consumers and producers as economic agents behave, how prices are determined, how the performances of an economy is measured by things like growth, unemployment and inflation, and how government policies may affect the performances of the economy.”

Here we see a mixture of the person defined in economics, as either an: "agent", "molecule", or "particle", depending on point of view, whereas correctly, the new standard 21st century textbook definition of a human is that of a "molecule" (see: human molecular formula).

See also
Human behavior

1. Behavior – Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2000.
2. Lewis, Gilbert N. (1925). The Anatomy of Science (behavior, pgs. 195, 199-200). Silliman Lectures; Yale University Press, 1926.
3. Ye, Meng-Hua. (2002). “Econ 101: Introduction to Economics” (abs), St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Division of History and Social Science.
4. (a) Poincare, Antoine. (c.1875). On Science (§:New Concepts of Matter, pg. #). Publisher.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One) (Helmholtz, Poincare, pg. 136). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
5. (a) Helmholtz , Hermann. (1863). “On the Conservation of Force”, Lectures at Carlsruhe, winter. Kessinger Publishers.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One) (Helmholtz, Poincare, pg. 136). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
6. Pirsig, Robert M. (1991). Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (excerpt, pg. 140; chemistry, 11+ pgs). Random House.
7. Hensley, Linda. (2010). “Satellite”, Jun 25.
8. Email communication with Libb Thims (8 Apr 2013).

External links
Behavior – Wikipedia.

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