In thermodynamics, life thermodynamics, a defunct neoplasm (see: bio-; defunct theory of life; life does not exist; life terminology upgrades), colloquially the "thermodynamics of life", is the thermodynamical study of animate matter, or more specifically powered chnopsological matter. [1]

Animate thermodynamics
The term 'life' and its corpus of associations is a fictitious conception and defunct theory. [10] A repercussion of this is that the name of branch of thermodynamics that studies entities formerly in the category of "life thermodynamics", recently camouflaged by the renamed terms "biological thermodynamics" (or biothermodynamics)
, should be referred to as animate thermodynamics, in the most-correct sense (as it is technically incorrect to say that something is alive); although this is a rather cumbersome label..

The subject of the thermodynamics of life began to arise in the 1920s, and in the 1950s, through primarily the arguments of Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine, a view began to emerge that life could not be studied by classical thermodynamics, but only by nonequilibrium thermodynamics.

The subject of life in relation to the laws of thermodynamics began to arise in the 1920s. [3] One of the first to outline this discipline of thermodynamics was Belgian-born English thermodynamicist Alfred Ubbelohde, in his chapter “Thermodynamics and Life” in the 1947 book Time and Thermodynamics. To quote is overall view of the subject:

“So far as concerns the laws of thermodynamics there is reasonable expectation that more information about their bearing on life will be obtainable as the results of further experiments, particularly as the result of measurements on the energy and entropy changes accompanying the activities of living organisms.”

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Prigoginean thermodynamics
See main: Progoginean thermodynamics
In the 1950s, Belgian chemist Ilya Prigogine worked to establish the view that life is a "far-from-equilibrium" phenomenon able to be studied in nonequilibrium thermodynamics, rather than classical thermodynamics. Prigogine, curiously, had a dismal view of classical thermodynamics in its applicability to explain the phenomenon of life and evolution? To cite one example, in 1955 Prigogine stated: [4]

“The fact that during growth living organisms actually show a decrease of entropy production during evolution up to the stationary state … also, the fact that their organization generally increases during this evolution [which] corresponds to the decrease of entropy as studied [leads one to puzzle as to why] the behavior of living organisms has always seemed so strange from the point of view of classical thermodynamics; that the applicability of thermodynamics to such systems has often been questioned. One may say that from the point of view of the thermodynamics of open and stationary systems [nonequilibrium thermodynamics] a much better understanding of their principal features is obtained.”

In the opening comments to his 1977 Nobel Lecture “Time, Structure and Fluctuations”, similarly, he again makes a misaligned attempt, i.e. by purposely mentioning Helmholtz free energy which is typically used in isothermal (constant temperature) isochoric (constant volume) experiments such as in explosives research (where explosive reactions by their nature induce pressure changes), verses the Gibbs free energy (common to biological processes), to discredit the validity of standard thermodynamics to explain living order: [5]

“Thermodynamic equilibrium may be characterized by the minimum of the Helmholtz free energy defined usually by: F = E – TS. Are most types of ‘organisations’ around us of this nature? It is enough to ask such a question to see that the answer is negative. Obviously in a town, in a living system, we have a quite different type of functional order. To obtain a thermodynamic theory for this type of structure we have to show that that non-equilibrium may be a source of order. Irreversible processes may lead to a new type of dynamic states of matter which I have called ‘dissipative structures’.”

This view strangely existed, in the mind of Prigogine, in spite of the fact that he was well acquainted with German writer Johann Goethe’s 1809 Elective Affinities (as referenced in the endnotes to his Order Out of Chaos), in which the activities of human life and love were explained via a theory of human chemical reactions quantified by chemical affinities, which, as elaborated on greatly by Prigogine’s mentor de Donder in his 1936 Thermodynamic Theory of Affinity, are described via changes in chemical free energy (Gibbs free energy), a classical thermodynamics conception.

In the 2005 book Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life, Americans ecologist Eric Schneider and science writer Dorion Sagan state rather presumptuously, on what seems to be a Prigoginean thermodynamics basis, that life thermodynamics is a subdiscipline of nonequilibrium thermodynamics. In their own words: [6]

“As a scientific discipline, the thermodynamics of life—a subdiscipline of nonequilibrium thermodynamics, remains esoteric within science and virtually unknown to the public.”

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Gibbsian thermodynamics
See main: Gibbsian thermodynamics
In contrast to the dominant view established by Prigogine (especially after his 1977 Noble Prize win), that life is a nonequilibrium phenomenon not applicable to classical thermodynamics, an alternative view had also begun to slowly emerge that life is a process that is studied via the chemical thermodynamics methods of American engineer Willard Gibbs. The first to state this perspective, in a clear manner, was Russian physical chemist Georgi Gladyshev who in 1978 argued that life was a phenomenon studied via a Gibbsian-variation of chemical thermodynamics that he called “hierarchical thermodynamics”, rather than via the methods of Prigogine, which he considered as: “Mathematically trimmed fantasies useless for real life.” [7] In a similar manner, the 2007 view established by American chemical engineer Libb Thims, is that animate structures, viewed as forms of life, such as people, are simply "large molecules", for example "human molecules", "bacteria molecules", etc., no different than similar smaller molecules, such as DNA, H2O, etc., and that chemical thermodynamics, as was founded predominately by American engineer Willard Gibbs, is the branch of thermodynamics that studies these structures, as common sense would imply. [8]

1. Ubbelohde, Alfred René. (1947). Time and Thermodynamics, (ch. IX: “Thermodynamics and Life”). Oxford University Press.
2. Ubbelohde, Alfred René. (1954). Man and Energy ... Illustrated, (Section: XIII: Thermodynamics and Life, pg. 183-200, Section: XIV: Thermodynamic Laws and Cognition, pg. 201-09). London: Hutchinson's Scientific & Technical Publications.
3. Bayliss, William Maddock. (1922). “Life and the Laws of Thermodynamics” (Twenty-fourth Robert Boyle Lecture, Delivered Before the Junior Scientific Club of the University of Oxford on 7th June), (12-pages). H. Milford, Oxford University Press.
4. Prigogine, Ilya. (1955). Introduction to Thermodynamics of Irreversible Processes, (pg. 92). New York: Interscience Publishers.
5. Prigogine, Ilya. (1977). “Time, Structure and Fluctuations”, Nobel Lecture, Dec. 08.
6. (a) Schneider, Eric D. and Sagan, Dorion. (2005). Into the Cool - Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life, (pg. 144). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
(b) Thermodynamics and Life (ch. 11) –
7. (a) Gladyshev, Georgi, P. (1978). "On the Thermodynamics of Biological Evolution", Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 75, Issue 4, Dec 21, pp. 425-441 (Preprint, Chernogolovka, Institute of Chem. Phys. Academy of Science of USSR, May, 1977, p. 46).
(b) Gladyshev, Georgi P. (2005). “The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Evolution of Living Systems”, (section: Phenomenological vs. Nonequilibrium). Journal of Human Thermodynamics, Vol. 1, Issue 7, (pgs. 68-81). Dec.
(c) Gladyshev, G.P. (2008) "Mechanism of influence of foodstuff on healthy longevity." Advance in Gerontol. V 21, № 1. p. 34-36. (In Russian).
8. (a) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One), (preview), (Google books). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume Two), (preview), (Google books). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.

9. MadSciRat. (2010). “The Thermodynamic Nature of Life”, YouTube, Mar 06.
10. (a) Thims, Libb. (2007). Human Chemistry (Volume One) (life: difficulties on term, pgs. 130-31). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
(b) Thims, Libb. (2009). “Letter: Life a Defunct Scientific Theory”, Journal of Human Thermodynamics, Vol. 5, pgs. 20-21.
(c) Brooks, Michael. (2008). 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: the Most Baffling
Scientific Mysteries of Our Time (ch. 5: “Life: Are You More Than Just a Bag of Chemicals”, pgs. 69-82). Double Day.

Further reading
● Oster, George F., Jain, Suresh C., Chadderton, Lewis T., Silver, Ira L., and Tobias, Cornelius A. (1974). Irreversible Thermodynamics and The Origin of Life (symposium at the Third Annual Biophysics Congress). Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.
● Coster, Hans G.L. (1981). Thermodynamics of Life Processes. New South Wales University Press.
Kremer, Richard L. (1990). The Thermodynamics of Life and Experimental Physiology, 1770-1888. Harvard Dissertations in the History of Science. Garland Pub.
Gladyshev, Georgi P. (1999). "On Thermodynamics, Entropy and Evolution of Biological Systems: What Is Life from a Physical Chemist's Viewpoint." Entropy 1, no. 2: 9-20.
● Musumeci, Francesco, Brizhik, Larissa S., and Ho, Maw-Wan. (2003). Energy and Information Transfer in Biological Systems: how physics could enrich biological understanding : proceedings of the international workshop, Acireale, Catania, Italy, 18-22 September, 2002. World Scientific.
● Kurzynski, Michal. (2006). The Thermodynamic Machinery of Life. New York: Springer.

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