Harold BlumThis is a featured page

Harold Francis Blum (possible photo)In hmolscience, Harold Blum (1899-1980) was an American physicochemical physiologist, zoologist, and biologist (chnopsologist), generally know as one of the pioneers of the biologic (chnopsologic) study of light, noted for his 1934 to 1950 publications on evolutionary thermodynamics. [2]

In 1934, Blum, in his
“A Consideration of Evolution from a Thermodynamic View-Point”, cites Lawrence Henderson (1913) and Gilbert Lewis (1923), to outline a coupling theory plus free energy decrease based theory of orthogenesis conceptualized evolution, in the form of what he refers to as "chemical peneplanation", i.e. an synonym the semi-modern term Gibbs landscapes, as seems to be the case. [6]

In 1950, Blum published his
Time’s Arrow and Evolution, in which he aimed to reconcile the second law of thermodynamics with organic evolution. [7]

Blum, in his Time’s Arrow and Evolution, according to Steven Polgar (1960), supposedly, states that the second law does not apply to biochemical transformations. [1]

Blum argues that evolution did not begin with the formation of the first life, nor was the origin of life a precise event—rather, since the beginning of the universe, physical and chemical laws have inexorably channeled the course of change, so that possibilities were already limited and that life emerged. [3]

The anchor point for Blum’s work seems to have been English astronomer Arthur Eddington’s 1928 The Nature of the Physical World, wherein the term “time’s arrow” was originally coined, in connection to the second law.

In 1922, Blum completed his BS in zoology, with a publication “On the Effect of Low Salinity on Teredo Navalis” (Ѻ), graduating with honors, at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 1927 completed his PhD in physiology from Harvard Medical School, after which he worked as professor of animal biology at the University of Oregon, then as an instructor of physiology at Harvard Medical School, then an associate professor of physiology at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1938, he joined the newly founded National Cancer Institute, remaining there until his retirement in 1967. [2]

Harold Blum (older)
Time's Arrow and Evolution (Blum)
Left: Blum's 1951 Time's Arrow and Evolution. [1] Left: an older photo of Blum; as compared to hisyounger photo (above). [5]
His career in higher education included posts at the University of California, Temple University Skin and Cancer Hospital, Columbia University, Harvard Medical School, Princeton University, the Naval Medical Research Institute, the National Cancer Institute, and the State University of New York at Albany. Much of his work was focused on photobiology, such as his work on irradiation experiments on mice and cancer.

1. Blum, Harold F. (1951). Time's Arrow and Evolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
2. Author. (1981). “Obituary: Harold F. Blum (1899-1980)” (abs), Photochemistry and Photobiology, 33:287-88.
3. Time’s Arrow and Evolution (review) – InnovationWatch.com.
4. Harold F. Blum (about) – Special Collections, University of Tennessee.
5. Harold Blum (photos) – Ancestry.com.
6. (a) Blum, Harold F. (1934). “A Consideration of Evolution from a Thermodynamic View-Point” (abs), presented at the 94th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Jun 20, in: The American Naturalist, 69(723):354-69, Jul-Aug, 1935.
(b) Henderson, Lawrence. (1913). The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter. MacMillan Company.
(c) Lewis, Gilbert N. and Randall, Merle. (1923). Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances. McGraw-Hill.
(d) Peneplain – Wikipedia.
7. Polgar, Steven. (1960). “Evolution and the Thermodynamic Imperative” (abs), presented during meeting of Section H of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York, Dec 30; in: Human Biology (1961), 33(2):99-109, May.
Blum touches on both entropy and free energy in his argument.

Further reading
● Baas-Becking, G.M.L. and Parks, G.S. (1927). “Energy Relations in the Metabolism of Autotrophic Bacteria” (abs), Physiological Reviews, 7:85-126.

External links
Blum, Harold F. (Harold Francis) (1899-) – WorldCat Identities.
Blum, Harold Francis (1899-1980) – The Internet Encyclopedia of Science, DavidDarling.info.
The Harold F. Blum Papers, 1939-43 – The University of Tennessee.

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