A simple physical system, consisting of a certain liquid in a container being heated from the bottom, which has been extensively studied by the Prigogine School because it demonstrates self-organization and emergence. As the liquid in a container is heated from the bottom, at a critical temperature level (a far-from-equilibrium condition), there is the sudden emergence of striking hexagonally-shaped convection cells. Prigogine has termed these hexagonal cells "dissipative structures" since they maintain their structure while dissipating energy through the system and from the system to the environment. These dissipative structures are a good example of unpredictable emergent patterns since the direction of rotation of the convection cells is the result of the amplification of random currents in the liquid.
Related categories SYSTEMS THEORY
ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF LIFE
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