In hmolscience, Prigogine-Waime theory, "Prigogine-Wiame principle" or "minimum entropy production" principle (Adams, 1988), holds that the thermodynamics of linear irreversible processes apply to ontogenesis, such that the growth of the organism is a process of continuous approach of the organism to a final stationary state (adulthood), accompanied by a decrease of the specific rate of entropy production of the specific dissipation function:

Ψ = q

where q is either heat production and or respiration. [1]

In 1946, Belgians chemist Ilya Prigogine and cellular geneticist Jean-Marie Wiame, supposedly, following the 1931 work of Lars Onsager, introduced the principle; the abstract of which is as follows: [2]

“The thermodynamic study of systems in which stationary (non-equilibrium) states were possible, led one of us (I. P.) to a number of general conclusions. In the present paper these conclusions are summarized and briefly discussed from a biological standpoint. It appears that the evolution of such systems is towards states with the least production of entropy (per mass unit) compatible with the conditions imposed. In the case of living matter this corresponds approximately to states of minimum metabolism. During this evolution the entropy contained in the system may decrease whilst the heterogenity increases. But this increase in heterogenity can only take place when there is a decrease in the entropy production, that is an evolution of the metabolism. We are thus led to suggest a physicochemical interpretation of Lamarchism. Finally we call attention to the fact that the moderation principle of Le Chatelier-Braun is not limited to equilibrium states.”

The following is a rephrased version:

“The theorem of minimum entropy production expresses a kind of ‘internal’ property of nonequilibrium systems. When given boundary conditions prevent the system from reaching thermodynamic equilibrium, i.e. zero entropy production, the system settles down in the state of ‘least dissipation’.”
Ilya Prigogine (1980), From Being to Becoming (pg. 88); cited by Richard Adams (1988) in The Eighth Day (pg. 43)

Russian biophysicist Alexander Zotin in 1972 asserted that available date for rates of heat production and respiration in various animals supported the Prigogine-Waime hypothesis.

Of note, Jean-Marie Wiame's last name is some-times misspelled as "Waime". American anthropologist Richard Adams, for instance, has promoted the theory in several of his works (1988, 2004) with the mis-spelling. [3]

See also
‚óŹ Robert Balmer

1. Brooks, Daniel R. and Wiley E.O. (1988). Evolution and Entropy (pg. 111). University of Chicago Press.
2. Prigogine, Ilya and Wiame, Jean M. (1947). “Biologie et Thermodynamique des Phenomenes Irreversibles” (abs), Experimentia, 2:451-53.
3. (a) Adams, Richard N. (1988). The Eight Day: Social Evolution as the Self-Organization of Energy (pg. 43). University of Texas Press.
(b) Adams, Richard N. (2004). “article”, in Encyclopedia of Energy: A-Ea (pg. 749). Elsevier.

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