WIT Press

Thermodynamics, information, and complexity in artificial and living systems


Free (open access)

Paper DOI



Volume 2 (2007), Issue 1



Page Range

39 - 47


U. Mastromatteo, P. Pasquinelli, A. Giorgetti


The history of thermodynamics has generated the list of systems that obey, without exceptions, the principles established by Clausius, Kelvin, Carnot, Boltzmann, Gibbs and Maxwell. In spite of this, the understanding of ‘transformations’ in living organisms, originating from studies initiated at the beginning of the 20th century, has opened the question on the universal validity of the second principle of thermodynamics. In fact, even some of the aforementioned eminent physicists were aware of possible paradoxes when the system contains nonlinear elements, or when there are constraints due to rules referring to ‘codes’ present in the system. This article deals with an introduction to the Gibb's paradox applied, as simple examples, to thermodynamics and information and to entropy and energy flux.


k ln 2, living organisms, Maxwell's demon, photosynthesis, second principle