01-28-12 – The Constructal Law

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Why does lightning look like a tree when it hits the ground? How do snowflakes form similar yet completely unique shapes? Why do fish always travel in schools? And why are all of our social systems, from governments to the military, dominated by hierarchies that exhibit the same patterns and characteristics?

Adrian Bejan, Ph.D. has explored these phenomena, and can show that the universe is governed by a single law of physics, which shapes the design of everything around us. Bejan’s groundbreaking new book, DESIGN IN NATURE, proposes that everything that moves is a flow system, from the branching patterns in our lungs, to floating logs organizing themselves perpendicular to the wind. Known as the Constructual Law, this rule of physics animates every aspect of the world around us. Structures take shape not by a matter of chance, but because they facilitate movement or flow, and this is true of everything in the universe, whether animate or inanimate.

Bejan will explain these intriguing ideas in layman’s terms, and will also discuss

• Why flashes of lightning always take on a tree-like shape when striking the ground
• How the intricate crystals on a snowflake form, and why they are so similar yet unique
• The reason that fish always travel in schools, and birds in flocks
• Why lava always flows a certain why down a mountain
• What swimmers, runners, and fliers all have in common
• How urban planning resembles the human circulatory system

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